• Proposed Boston - Concord, NH Route Discussion

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by mbrproductions
 
There has been a lot of development and coverage about the proposed MBTA extension to Manchester lately, especially given the HB 1432 bill that is now in the state senate's committee after having passed the house (https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_s ... &inflect=2) which if passed, would ban state funds for passenger rail. Has anything new come out of the Amtrak to Concord proposal yet?
  by Pensyfan19
 
Not that I've heard of. Again, I bring up the benefit of commuter rail agencies like MBTA running lines like this since they can run more trains due to the state having a more centralized budget than the federally owned amtrak.
  by mbrproductions
 
I don't see why both can't happen, I too would like to see MBTA running up the route to Manchester first, but I would also like to see Amtrak up to at least Concord introduced later too. That way the New Hampshire Main Line can become the busy passenger rail corridor that it should already be.
  by lordsigma12345
 
Keep in mind though there's also a lot of intercity rail funding in the IIJA that Southern NH rail could benefit from.
  by mbrproductions
 
Would HB1432, the bill in the NH Senate that just passed the committee (https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_s ... &inflect=2) and is intended on barring state spending on passenger rail is clearly targeted at the MBTA proposal, would this bill also have an effect on the Amtrak proposal, or would it be easier to get alternative funding sources for Amtrak, such as from the IIJA?
  by mbrproductions
 
HB 1432 has passed the NH Senate as of yesterday, April 28th, If signed into law by Gov. Sununu, the chances of both this and the MBTA proposal ever happening will be drastically lowered. It looks like this may be another victory for the anti-rail crowd.
Last edited by mbrproductions on Fri Apr 29, 2022 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by mbrproductions
 
Wait, it seems I am mistaken, the bill's wording has been changed, it seems like the bill now only targets the MBTA proposal,
AN ACT prohibiting the use of state funds for a certain passenger rail project.
that used to say, "for future passenger rail projects", there is also this on the second page,
unless approved by the legislature, no
state funds shall be appropriated or expended for the project named Nashua-ManchesterConcord, project number 40818 in the 2019-2028 Ten Year Transportation Improvement
Plan
So they are going only after the 40818 project (i.e. the MBTA one): https://www.nh.gov/dot/projects/nashuam ... /index.htm

link to bill: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_St ... illVersion
  by lordsigma12345
 
Yes I noticed that too - they appear to have amended it to specifically quash the MBTA proposal while leaving the door open for the Amtrak Connects US option (which apparently Governor Sununu prefers) we'll have to see the final text of what the governor eventually signs - unsure if this has to go back to the house for them to accept the bill as amended.
  by mbrproductions
 
I had a feeling NH would go for Amtrak over the MBTA, it offers higher speeds and better comfort, but at the cost of less trains, and last month when Sununu said that he did not oppose rail expansion into NH, he also said this about having the MBTA run the service,
Also, who’s going to run the trains? MBTA. Let me be really blunt – those bankrupt, crooked bastards, I won’t trust them… This is Massachusetts bureaucracy. Crooked cronyism, bureaucracy, whatever words you throw at Want this — in the worst case scenario. They’re in billions and billions in debt, so they’re going to be our operators? I don’t think so.
With this in mind, he is probably going to sign HB 1432 since it will most likely kill the MBTA proposal, and then allow for Amtrak expansion later on.
  by Anthony
 
While it appears that the MBTA proposal may be dead now, the Amtrak proposal doesn't appear to be thanks to the amendment in the bill. As an Amtrak service, this route could be set up much like the successful Downeaster in terms of frequency and onboard service. While this wouldn't be as frequent as the MBTA service would have been, this would give New Hampshire a similar success story in passenger rail service to what Maine has experienced with the Downeaster, possibly building political support for the eventual repeal of the proposed law banning spending state funds for MBTA expansion into NH.
  by BandA
 
As I said on the MBTA discussion on this topic, the wording of the amendment delays implementation so that a study can complete this year. Apparently they want to block design and construction phases since they have no way to pay the state portion of the operating deficit (NH has no personal income tax, no sales tax, and most of the passengers presumably be riding to jobs in MA for which MA collects all the income tax revenue.) I think it has to be voted by the full senate & amendment voted by the house then signed by the governator.

There is a discussion in the MBTA East-West project (Boston to Abany and/or Inland Regional) and on the MassDOT website about Mass creating a separate rail authority which would have better access to FRA (and somehow Amtrak) vs FTA funds.
  by markhb
 
mbrproductions wrote: Fri Apr 29, 2022 11:01 am I had a feeling NH would go for Amtrak over the MBTA, it offers higher speeds and better comfort, but at the cost of less trains, and last month when Sununu said that he did not oppose rail expansion into NH, he also said this about having the MBTA run the service,
Also, who’s going to run the trains? MBTA. Let me be really blunt – those bankrupt, crooked bastards, I won’t trust them… This is Massachusetts bureaucracy. Crooked cronyism, bureaucracy, whatever words you throw at Want this — in the worst case scenario. They’re in billions and billions in debt, so they’re going to be our operators? I don’t think so.
With this in mind, he is probably going to sign HB 1432 since it will most likely kill the MBTA proposal, and then allow for Amtrak expansion later on.
This belief (that the MBTA is an irredeemably corrupt quagmire, much like most of Mass. politics) is exactly the reason that I never thought the proposed extension of the Haverhill line into Plaistow, NH was going to go anywhere.
  by BandA
 
Presumably, when you contract for trains, you hire the one with the lower bid, the one with the lower costs. So which of these two likely has lower costs?

There are also questions about if you can get more Feddybucks by hiring Amtrak than hiring a state agency.

Given available equipment and crew, Amtrak will run whatever number of trains the state wants to pay for and charge whatever the state says, just like Hartford Line. If they hire the MBTA they can just extend existing trains, if they go with Amtrak they have to get MA to agree to subsidize the MA portion of the route and to provide train slots.
  by mbrproductions
 
This belief (that the MBTA is an irredeemably corrupt quagmire, much like most of Mass. politics) is exactly the reason that I never thought the proposed extension of the Haverhill line into Plaistow, NH was going to go anywhere.
That was more about the opposition to the layover yard that was going to be in Plaistow than it was about the MBTA running the service.
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