NH Capitol Corridor
Currently there is no passenger rail service along the busiest corridor in New Hampshire – the 73 mile stretch from Concord to Boston along Routes 3 and Interstate 93. Each day 165,000 vehicles travel this highly congested corridor.
The need for passenger rail has grown, due to increases in population and traffic as well as concerns about air quality, sprawl and a reliance on single-occupant vehicles. The access of New Hampshire commuters as well as students, visitors, and other travelers to the Boston area can be disrupted by severe traffic congestion, weather incidents, and other factors that affect the highway system. The establishment of passenger rail service can help alleviate those issues and result in other benefits.
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) in cooperation with NHRTA, have completed a NH Capitol Corridor Study to evaluate passenger rail service and other transit alternatives like express bus service. The study results indicated extensive positive economic development impacts of expanding passenger rail including new jobs, commercial and residential real estate growth, and millions of dollars in reinvested worker earnings. Below are some highlights:
- According to the analysis, the Manchester Regional Rail alternative serving two stations in Nashua, one in downtown Manchester and one at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport would offer the greatest economic benefit with moderate construction investment.
- This alternative would draw an average of 668,000 weekday riders a year, with the potential to generate more than 3,600 new residential units and nearly two million square feet of commercial space supporting 5,600 permanent jobs by the year 2030.
- Approximately 230 jobs would be created for the construction of the rail line and an additional 3,390 construction jobs would be created to build the real estate development generated by rail.
- Beginning in 2030, 1,730 new jobs would be created every year due to the expansion of passenger rail.
Real estate development would add $750 million to the state’s output between 2021 and 2030, with reinvested earnings adding $220 million per year beyond 2030.
NHRTA and rail expansion supporters are currently urging the New Hampshire legislature to provide $4 million in funding for completing the critical project development phase, which is the next logical step in the NH Capitol Corridor Project. This essential phase of the project consists of developing a detailed financial plan, final engineering, and preparation of funding applications for submission to the Federal Transit Administration and Federal Rail Administration.
Assuming NHRTA obtains the needed $4 million in funding to conduct the project development phase, work could conceivably kick off within the next year.
Please check back at this site for regular updates on the study and prospects for expanding passenger rail service in New Hampshire.
Read more about the NH Capitol Corridor Study at: http://www.nhcapitolcorridor.com/.