Step in the right direction

Last week, the New Hampshire Senate voted to approve Senate Bill 241, which would allow state officials to complete the Capitol Corridor Rail Expansion’s Project Development Analysis.

This legislation, if ultimately signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu, would direct a portion of the state’s accrued toll credit funds, which are generally used for highway projects.

“Senate Bill 241 passing the Senate is very good news,” said Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess. “The next thing is to get it through the House and signed by the governor, and then go through with finishing up the final planning phase.”

According to the Capitol Corridor study, released in 2015, the passenger rail project could mean the following for the Granite State:

* 5,600 permanent jobs,

* 3,400 construction jobs to build the real estate development triggered by rail,

* 1,700 new jobs every year beginning in 2030,

* 3,600 residential units to support new workers,

* 1.9 million square feet of commercial real estate as a by-product of rail expansion,

* $750 million in real estate investment from 2021-2030, and

* $220 million in reinvested worker earnings added to the economy beyond 2020.

“This is a significant milestone in the effort to expand passenger rail from Boston to southern New Hampshire,” New Hampshire Business for Rail Expansion spokesman E.J. Powers said.

It is a significant milestone; however, the analysis needs to be finished in short order, and the Granite State needs to get down to business and add commuter rail service.