Rail report referred to Committee on Infrastructure

Telegraph photo by MATHEW PLAMONDON The Board of Aldermen vice president makes remarks at Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.

NASHUA – The Board of Aldermen referred the Nashua Rail Transit Committee Report to the Committee on Infrastructure during its Tuesday night meeting.

The committee will meet at 7 p.m. on Jan. 23 in the Aldermanic Chamber to examine and discuss the report.

“Of course, I’m preaching to the choir, I know here when I say that a rail would bring great benefits to the state of New Hampshire in its entirety as well as to the city of Nashua as well as to the neighborhood that would host the rail station, and too, of course, all the commuters who drive from Nashua into Boston and Massachusetts,” Mayor Jim Donchess said.

According to the Nashua Rail Transit Committee Report’s Executive Summary, passenger rail is imperative in three areas.

One, for economic development in creating land value, which equals increased taxes, for Bridge Street and Crown Street development and to meet talent demands of Nashua businesses and support area industry development and access to the city’s downtown.

Second, mobility that would improve the options of the labor force to and from the city, improve the flow of tourists, arts patrons and retail shoppers and increase travel options to and from downtown Nashua, office/industrial parks, Manchester Airport and Logan Airport.

Finally, in the area of environmental and social interactions, it will mitigate adverse environmental impacts, support development patterns/lifestyle of next-generation and older residents and promote transit-oriented development.

Moreover, Donchess highlighted what the committee is suggesting – to pursue the Legislature in the effort to get the last planning stages for the New Hampshire Capital Corridor project funded with $4 million of federal money. Donchess made it clear that not one state dollar will be involved to complete this last planning phase; however, he acknowledged that over time there has been quite a bit of opposition to rail. At the same time, it’s suggested that they pursue the joint approach with Boston Surface Railroad Com. to work with them to determine if they could bring in a private service to the city.

“So, the committee is recommending that we pursue these two tracks, and you will hear more about that when they report,” Donchess said.

The BSRC option is a public-private partnership to operate passenger rail from Concord to Boston, with one stop in Bedford and one in Nashua. The New Hampshire Capital Corridor is led by the state of New Hampshire in partnership with Mass DOT/MBTA to operate passenger rail from Concord to Boston with one or more stops in Nashua.

Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206 or aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.