Update on the Capital Corridor Project

12.26.13 transportation blog

Our Chamber has learned that HB 2016, the 10 Year Transportation Improvement Program bill will be heard on the Senate Floor next Thursday, May 12 and NOT this Thursday as we had previously thought.

We are asking for your help in letting our State Senators know how important it is to restore funding for the next phase of the Capitol Corridor Project, which will bring commuter rail to New Hampshire.

Yesterday, the Senate Transportation Committee voted not to reinstate the $4 Million into HB 2016 that was needed for the next phase of the Capital Corridor Project. The vote was 2 to 3 for the reinstatement; voting against were Senators Gary Daniels of Milford, Regina Birdsell of Hampstead, and Nancy Stiles of Hampton.

We note that not one penny of that $4 million comes from state funds.

The funds would help our state’s leaders get answers to critical questions before they are asked to decide whether to ultimately bring commuter rail back to New Hampshire. This funding is not intended for a study, as some may think, but is instead to accomplish three things –

1) Determine the track layout and the environmental impact of that layout;

2) Put together a detailed capital (construction) and operating financial plan (real numbers based on an actual track layout); and

3) Start the work to raise the money – grants, private funding, etc. – to pay for the commuter rail lines and stations.

Think of it this way – the studies that have already been done were conceptual – if you were remodeling a home, things like ‘how much value would redoing the kitchen add, what impact would a bathroom overhaul have, or adding an additional bedroom? What are the ballpark figures for an average kitchen/bath/addition?’ This next phase is the equivalent of bringing in the architect and the builder for real quotes on what you’ve actually decided to do, and then talking to a bank about financing options.

Our Chamber has stated its strong disapproval of the Committee’s decision not to reinstate the $4 Million. We believe that commuter rail represents a great economic opportunity for our state, will provide better access to the skilled workforce in the greater Boston area, and will relieve some traffic congestion from our roads.

Here are some thoughts from our members on the potential of Commuter Rail in NH.

Grant Morris, founder and East Coast Manager of New Sky Productions (recognized at our March Eminence Awards as our Small Business of the Year) considers the Committee’s decision short sighted to the economic possibilities and to the tremendous impact commuter rail would have on New Hampshire’s desirability for attracting young professionals.

In an interview with our Chamber, Grant noted that his last few hires have all come from outside of the state of New Hampshire, simply because the talent pool does not exist here. Grant and New Sky Productions are not alone in voicing these concerns. More and more of New Hampshire’s employers face the retirement of the skilled Baby Boomers who have led their companies for the past few decades, and these employers are now also being faced with a lack of skilled workers to take their places. Grant, like many, is finding it more and more difficult to lure even the talent pool of Massachusetts into New Hampshire. “They have higher pay and their friends are all a T-ride away in Somerville,” Grant quipped. “Why would they want to move to New Hampshire?”

Jay Welch, President of the High Hopes Foundation, lives in Nashua and commuted to Massachusetts for many years due to financial opportunities that weren’t available in Nashua. For Jay, the rail project is a must. “I’m grateful to have found remote employment that allows me to work out of Nashua, be an active member of the Chamber and lead a local NH nonprofit,” Jay said. “I know those opportunities are rare and a commuter rail will allow for an increase of professionals such as myself.”

Commuter rail represents an investment in New Hampshire’s future, keeping us economically viable and desirable to live in as our workforce begins to age. The Capitol Corridor Rail Study, which was released last year, predicts that commuter rail expansion into the state of New Hampshire would create 1,730 new jobs every year, would add $750 million through real estate development to the state’s output, and would draw an average of 668,000 weekday riders per year. Such benefits should not be dismissed.

Our Chamber has been told that an amendment to reinstate the $4 million will be brought to the floor next Thursday, May 12th when HB 2016 hits the senate floor. We encourage you all to reach out to our state senators and express your strong support for the reinstating for $4 million and for the addition of commuter rail here in New Hampshire. Find your local Senator’s contact information listed below:

District 01 – Coos County

Jeff Woodburn (D) 
State House
Room 120
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-3207

Jeff.Woodburn@leg.state.nh.us

 District 02 – Belknap County, Some of Grafton County, and some of Merrimack County

Jeanie Forrester (R) 
State House
Room 105
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-4980

jeanie.forrester@leg.state.nh.us

 District 03 – Carroll County, Milton, Middleton

Jeb Bradley (R) 
State House
Room 302
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-2609

jeb.bradley@leg.state.nh.us

 District 04 – Barrington, Dover, Somersworth, Rollinsford

David Watters (D) 
Legislative Office Building
Room 101-A
33 North State Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-8631

david.watters@leg.state.nh.us

 District 05 – Parts of Grafton and Sullivan Counties

David Pierce (D) 
Legislative Office Building
Room 5
33 North State Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-3067

david.pierce@leg.state.nh.us

 District 06 – Parts of Belknap and Strafford Counties

Sam Cataldo (R) 
State House
Room 107
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-4063

sam.cataldo@leg.state.nh.us

 District 07 – Parts of Belknap and Merrimack Counties

Andrew Hosmer (D) 
Legislative Office Building
Room 101-A
33 North State Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-8631

andrew.hosmer@leg.state.nh.us

 District 08 – Parts of Merrimack, Hillsborough, and Cheshire Counties

Gerald Little (R) 
State House
Room 105-A
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-4151

Jerry.Little@leg.state.nh.us

 District 09 – Parts of Cheshire and Hillsborough Counties including Mount Vernon and Lyndeborough

Andy Sanborn (R) 
State House
Room 302
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-3042

andy.sanborn@leg.state.nh.us

 District 10 – Keene and Surrounding Towns

Molly Kelly (D) 
State House
Room 120
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-3207

molly.kelly@leg.state.nh.us

 District 11 –Amherst, Merrimack, Milford, Wilton

Gary Daniels (R) 
State House
Room 302
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-3042

Gary.Daniels@leg.state.nh.us

 District 12 – Nashua, Hollis, and other Border Towns

Kevin Avard (R) 
State House
Room 105-A
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-4151

Kevin.Avard@leg.state.nh.us

 District 13 – Nashua

Bette Lasky (D) 
State House
Room 124
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-3091

bette.lasky@leg.state.nh.us

 District 14 – Hudson, Auburn, Londonderry

Sharon Carson (R) 
State House
Room 106
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-1403

sharon.carson@leg.state.nh.us

 District 15 – Concord and Surrounding Towns

Dan Feltes (D) 
Legislative Office Building
Room 5
33 North State Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-3067

Dan.Feltes@leg.state.nh.us

 District 16 – Manchester, Bow, Dunbarton, Hooksett

David Boutin (R) 
Legislative Office Building
Room 102-A
33 North State Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-3092

dboutin1465@comcast.net

 District 17 – Parts of Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford Counties

John Reagan (R) 
State House
Room 107
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-4063

john.reagan111@gmail.com

 District 18 – Manchester and Litchfield

Donna Soucy (D) 
State House
Room 120
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-3207

donna.soucy@leg.state.nh.us

 District 19 – Derry, Hampstead, and Windham

Regina Birdsell (R) 
State House
Room 105-A
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-4151

Regina.Birdsell@leg.state.nh.us

 District 20 – Manchester and Goffstown

Lou D’Allesandro (D) 
State House
Room 117
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-2117

dalas@leg.state.nh.us

 District 21 – Parts of Rockingham and Strafford County including Portsmouth and Durham

Martha Fuller Clark (D) 
State House
Room 115
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-3076

martha.fullerclark@leg.state.nh.us

 District 22 – Pelham, Salem, Plaistow, Atkinson  

Chuck Morse (R) 
State House
Room 302
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-8472

chuck.morse@leg.state.nh.us

 District 23 – Exeter, Epping, and Surrounding Towns

Russell Prescott (R) 
State House
Room 302
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-3074

represcott@represcott.com

 District 24 – Rockingham County

Nancy Stiles (R) 
Legislative Office Building
Room 103-A
33 North State Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603)271-3093

nancy.stiles@leg.state.nh.us

For more information on Districts visit here.