Hassan bill supports funding passenger rail from Boston to Manchester

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The area of Granite and Canal streets where a proposed commuter rail station would be located. File Photo/Kathryn Staub

NEWS RELEASE – WASHINGTON, DC –  U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan on Wednesday introduced the Capital Investment Grant Program Improvement Act to help spur federal investment in passenger rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester. The bill would increase funding for the federal Capital Investment Grant program and prioritize projects connecting smaller cities to existing passenger rail in larger cities, making it easier for New Hampshire to secure the grant funding needed to move forward with passenger rail.

“Bringing passenger rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester would boost our economy, helping to support our businesses, keep and attract more young people to our state, and create new jobs — not to mention reduce traffic on I-93,” said Hassan. “I have long supported efforts to expand passenger rail in the Granite State, and this bill would make it easier for our state to secure the federal funds needed to make this project a reality.”

“For years, Manchester residents and businesses have advocated for the expansion of commuter rail,” said Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig. “This additional funding for the Capital Investment Grant would provide increased opportunity for expanded commuter rail in communities like ours, which will make New Hampshire a more desirable place for people to live and work. In Manchester, commuter rail will increase new economic development opportunities, attract a youthful workforce, expand transit opportunities, and increase accessibility to employment. I want to thank Senator Hassan for her work on this important issue.”

 “I am thankful to Senator Hassan for her efforts to fight for commuter rail in Nashua,” said Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess. “Nashua residents want an alternative way to travel in and out of Boston while still being able to enjoy the quality of life that our city offers. Passenger rail would make for an easier commute to work while helping Nashuans avoid heavy Boston traffic. Bringing commuter rail to Nashua creates the opportunity for new economic growth in our city.”

 “It is vital that our state develop a passenger rail to help retain homegrown talent and attract high-skill workers from Boston, while contributing to new jobs and economic growth,” said E.J. Powers, New Hampshire Business for Rail Expansion spokesman. “The New Hampshire Business for Rail Expansion supports Senator Hassan’s bill that would help make the development of a passenger rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester a reality.”

 Last year, New Hampshire passed legislation allowing the use of existing federal funding to complete the engineering, environmental, and financial analyses necessary to advance the New Hampshire Capitol Corridor study, and that study was also authorized this year in New Hampshire’s Ten Year Transportation Improvement Plan. However, expanding passenger rail will require additional state and federal funding. Senator Hassan’s bill expands funding options for passenger rail in New Hampshire by strengthening the Capital Investment Grant program, which is administered by the Federal Transit Administration.

 Senator Hassan’s Capital Investment Grant Program Improvement Act would: 

  • Raise the authorized level of funding for the Capital Investment Grant program from $2.3 billion to $3.3 billion per year, which could fund several more projects like the Capitol Corridor project each year.
  • Make passenger rail projects in New Hampshire more competitive for Capital Investment Grant funding by instructing the Federal Transit Administration to prioritize projects that connect smaller cities like Manchester and Nashua with existing passenger rail networks like those in Boston.
  • Require the Federal Transit Administration to undertake a study and report back to Congress on the technical and financial barriers to constructing passenger rail projects in small urban and rural areas, which will allow Congress to better tailor future transportation programs and funding to meet the needs of those areas.

About this Author

Sen. Maggie Hassan

U.S Sen. Maggie Hassan is former governor of New Hampshire and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016.