Friday, February 08, 2013

Boston-to-Concord rail study approved

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New Hampshire's Executive Council approved a $3.6-million contract to study options for passenger rail between Boston, Mass., and Concord, N.H.

The 4-to-1 vote will allow the Bureau of Rail and Transit of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) to enter into an agreement with URS Corporation to analyze transit options along the 78-mile Capital Corridor, including the viability of establishing passenger rail service on this line. The two-part study will include an Alternatives Analysis for rail and transit in the Lowell-Nashua-Manchester portion of the corridor and a service development plan for intercity passenger rail in the corridor between Boston and Concord.

NHDOT was previously awarded funds from the Federal Transit Administration and Federal Railroad Administration, which will cover $3.24 million, approximately 88 percent, of the study's cost. The remaining funds of approximately $411,000 will be covered by New Hampshire.

In reaction to the Executive Council's vote, Gov. Maggie Hassan applauded the approval to move forward with the study, saying, "Expanded rail service to Nashua and beyond has the potential to boost New Hampshire's economy and create jobs. The only way we can understand the full impact of the project and ensure that taxpayer dollars are protected is to gather all of the facts. Using federal funds to study the rail project is a commonsense step forward that will allow the people of New Hampshire and their elected leaders to fully evaluate the options and make an informed decision. I thank the Department of Transportation for moving quickly to bring the item to the Executive Council, and I applaud the Councilors for their bipartisan approval of this important study."

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