N.H. Governor Signs Commuter Rail Bill

On July 27, Gov. John Lynch signed a law creating the New Hampshire Rail Authority, which will oversee development and operation of commuter rail in New Hampshire.

"As the southern tier of our state continues to rapidly grow, we must ensure we have a strong, and diverse, transportation infrastructure in place," Lynch said. "Re-establishing rail in New Hampshire is critical to our future economic growth as a state. It will help reduce congestion on our roads -- improving public safety and reducing air pollution. It will help improve the quality of life of our citizens here in New Hampshire and the quality of life, and transportation networks, of our entire region."

Last year, Lynch established a passenger rail working group to plan for the development of rail service in New Hampshire. The group is comprised of representatives the cities of Manchester and Nashua, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Nashua Chamber of Commerce, Pan Am Railways, and the Nashua and Southern New Hampshire Regional Planning Commissions. The group presented a report in January outlining the steps that need to be taken to implement rail service in New Hampshire. One of the first steps the group identified is the need for the creation of a rail authority.

Senate Bill 75 creates that authority and marks a significant step forward in the effort to bring commuter rail back to New Hampshire, the governor stated.

"This new law does not commit New Hampshire to either funding or operating rail service, but allows us to continue move forward with exploring the best way to return rail to Southern New Hampshire. Its work will include securing federal funding, negotiating contracts, setting fares and establishing rail schedules and rail service for our state. In addition, I included in my capital budget $1 million which can be used to construct platforms in Nashua and Manchester, Lynch said.

For more information, visit http://www.nh.gov/governor.

This article originally appeared in the 07/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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