If You are One of the 33% of Hudson Residents who Works across the Border, Would You Take a Train?

August 23, 2019

 

 

by Len Lathrop

About a month ago, SB 241-FN-A became law without Governor Sununu’s signature, and last Thursday, U.S. Congress members Kuster and Pappas were in Nashua to talk about what is called the Capitol Corridor Rail Project.

Trains that would travel from Lowell, Mass., to Nashua and then Manchester and then to Concord and maybe someday on into Montreal, Canada.

Stepping back for a second, do you realize that 33 percent of Hudson and 26.6 percent of Litchfield residents work in Massachusetts. This is according to a Nashua Regional Planning Board study.

The commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, Victoria F. Sheehan, joined the lawmakers on Thursday with State Senator Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess and representatives from both the NRPC and the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission.  Commissioner Sheehanprovided a handout about the project development and engineering phase that listed the goals to come from this $5 million process.

It is assumed this next phase would be for the Manchester regional alternative and would complete the following:

  • Conduct sufficient engineering to complete the environmental assessment and receive a Record of Decision from the Federal Transit Administration. The project would then be able to be permitted for construction.
  • Refine cost through engineering so that the true cost of the project will be known and carried forward to the construction phase.
  • Geological, safety and accessibility reviews — corridor condition, ADA and Federal Railroad Administration (safety) compliance.
  • Develop realistic financial plan showing federal, state, local, and private funding sources.
  • Find matching funds per program requirements. Thirty to 50 percent needs to be firmly committed at the end of this process.
  • Draft third-party agreements with MBTA to operate the service.
  • Develop strategy to maximize rating for capital improvements for the federal competitive Capital Investment Grant program.

In the single-hour meeting, many issues were touched on.  Providing a lot of the information about who owns the tracks and who controls the movement of the train was John Madden, a Hudson resident, who had a career with various state agencies and commissions in the New England states and New York.  He had the answers to many of the commissioners’ questions.

Would you take the train from Crown Street in Nashua to Boston.  Could you get your work done, relax and read or even sleep? How much could you save on wear and tear on your car and then the issue of parking in Greater Boston?  It was also mentioned that while many commuters use the park and ride system and take the bus into their work, they must contend with roadway congestion and delays.  This causes that service not to be on schedule and leads to many travelers being late for their commitments.

Also discussed was that most, if not all, rail travel systems receive support from local governments.  Yes, many different types of taxes pay for the train system.  This project development phase will look at all these questions.

Have questions about SB 241-FN-A and this Capitol Corridor Rail Project?  The State Project numbers are 16317 and 68067-A.