• New Hampshire Commuter Rail Discussion

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

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  by Arlington
 
Or is it all paid for by Mass consumers crossing into NH to buy their liquor and shopping for their MacBook at Pheasant Lane or Rockingham Park (which presumably is eventually reflected in the Mall's RE taxes)?

Almost no matter how you slice it, taxes are disproportionately paid where the economic activity is--where people live or work. In other states, it's directly tapped as income and sales taxes.

In NH, it happens in pretty much the same places, it just happens indirectly via the real estate that wage-earners live and work in which is still lopsidedly the population, retail, and employment (and airport) centers between Manchester and Nashua along US 3 & the rail.
  by p42thedowneaster
 
The state imposes a business enterprise tax on all businesses (it's not a sales tax, but its there indirectly) plus we have a higher room & meal tax than MA. Don't worry, the state has plenty of ways of bringing in tax revenue. If NH wants to do it, the money will happen. Opponents will say there is no funding...that's the logical thing to say when you need reasons not to do it.
  by newpylong
 
I'm a proponent of raising the tolls and collecting more from the flatlanders heading up to ski and use the lakes. Seems like a no brainer to me lol, it's not like it's going to deter anyone.
  by b&m 1566
 
I thought it was decided that the toll money couldn't be used for anything other than the highways?
  by BandA
 
NH just repealed the death penalty, overriding the governator's veto!! So now is a good time for subsidized CR to be pushed through while the democrats are in the engineer's seat and the republicans are asleep at the switch.
  by djlong
 
B&M is right. A trucker's lobby raised a stink and a legal challenge when a proposal to partially pay for rail in NH with toll revenue came up some years ago. It (diverting money from tolls to rail) was determined to be unconstitutional (State Constitution, that is)
  by artman
 
Tolls can only be used on the state's turnpikes. The proposal years back was to take some of the gas tax for rail. That is what the truckers fought and won against.
  by BandA
 
I always assumed, and still believe that NH highway tolls exceeded the toll road costs, and the surplus was used to support other state highways, like Ma$$achusetts does now with the Massachusetts Turnpike Extension ==> I-93/Big Dig. From there it's only a small step away from other subsidy.

Subsidies aren't the way to go. NH Commuter Rail isn't really going to take off until passengers are willing to once again pay close to actual costs at the farebox.
  by b&m 1566
 
I find it hard to believe the tolls are exceeding the cost of the roads. To the best of my knowledge, the state has been piecemailing together money to pay for the widening of I93, from Salem to Manchester.
  by gokeefe
 
BandA wrote: Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:34 pmSubsidies aren't the way to go. NH Commuter Rail isn't really going to take off until passengers are willing to once again pay close to actual costs at the farebox.
The secret here is that "commuter" rail services are eligible for ongoing (permanent) subsidies from the Federal Transit Administration. I would imagine there are people in New Hampshire for whom this is an uncomfortable reality.

Trying to explain rejecting federal transit dollars while also attempting to justify further highway expansion is a difficult task at best.
  by BandA
 
I see grants for elderly & disabled, rural formula grants for areas with <50K population, surface transportation block grants, urbanized area formula grants. I see grants for planning. Most grant programs like Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grants are supposed to be for capital, not operations, but we know how that gets finagled. Which federal grants can NH rely on for operating subsidy?

There's also the problem of operational losses for starting up a service, perhaps 5-10 years for a theoretical service to ramp up to "equilibrium" level.
  by BandA
 
b&m 1566 wrote: Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:40 pm I find it hard to believe the tolls are exceeding the cost of the roads. To the best of my knowledge, the state has been piecemailing together money to pay for the widening of I93, from Salem to Manchester.
For example, NH has only 16 miles of I-95 yet they charge $1.40 or $2 (8.6¢/mile or 12 1/3¢/mile). And we know that NHDOT cost per mile for highways is 1/3 to 1/4 of MASSDOT's cost. I wonder if NH can run a railroad shuttle to Manchester-Lowell at lower cost per mile than MBTA/Keolis...
  by newpylong
 
gokeefe wrote: Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:17 pm
BandA wrote: Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:34 pmSubsidies aren't the way to go. NH Commuter Rail isn't really going to take off until passengers are willing to once again pay close to actual costs at the farebox.
The secret here is that "commuter" rail services are eligible for ongoing (permanent) subsidies from the Federal Transit Administration. I would imagine there are people in New Hampshire for whom this is an uncomfortable reality.

Trying to explain rejecting federal transit dollars while also attempting to justify further highway expansion is a difficult task at best.
Likely not for the demographics/region that would apply to New Hampshire CR.
  by artman
 
b&m 1566 wrote: Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:40 pm I find it hard to believe the tolls are exceeding the cost of the roads. To the best of my knowledge, the state has been piecemailing together money to pay for the widening of I93, from Salem to Manchester.
Toll money cannot go to non-toll roads per NH law, but they found at least one way around that when the State of NH 'sold' the last 1.6 miles of I-95 (from the Portsmouth Traffic Circle to the Piscataqua Bridge) for $120 million to the NH Turnpike Authority (further burdening their bottom line). This $120 million is being used to complete the !-93 Widening.

The state is undertaking many toll road projects at the current time. As such, they have bonded the next ten year of tolls (more or less) against construction needed today for the Newington-Dover Spaulding Turnpike project ($287+ million), the Everett Turnpike widening beginning in 2022 ($115+ million), as well the recently completed Rochester Spaulding Turnpike project ($177+ million).

No further projects, including more open road tolling, can happen unless a toll hike is implemented, or some of the above debt is retired.
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