Concord, NH – Today, Sen. Bette Lasky of Nashua offered the following testimony before the Senate Capital Budget Committee advocating the restoration of funding for commuter rail in the Fiscal Year 2016-17 Capital Budget. Governor Hassan had originally included funding for a $4 million environmental and engineering assessment in her proposed budget that would have advanced the Capital Corridor Rail project forward, but it was removed during the House phase of the budget.
Testimony of Sen. Bette Lasky Before the Senate Capital Budget Committee
April 15, 2015
“Mr. Chairman and honorable members of the committee, I’m Bette Lasky and I am fortunate to represent District 13 in the State Senate, which is comprised of 6 wards in the city of Nashua.
I’m here today to ask that the Senate Capital Budget Committee restore the funding that was taken out by the House and proposed by the Governor, for an environmental and engineering assessment for expanding commuter rail to Nashua and Manchester as part of the Capital Corridor Rail project that the Governor proposed in her Capital Budget.
I’ve long been an advocate for bringing commuter rail to New Hampshire, not just because of the economic benefit that it will bring to Nashua, but its benefits to the entire state.
The report on the Capital Corridor Study that was released in February confirmed what the citizens and businesses of New Hampshire have known for years: bringing commuter rail to New Hampshire will help maximize our regional position and spark economic growth for decades to come.
The report showed that commuter rail will benefit the entire state, not only the cities of Manchester and Nashua, by bringing new transportation and housing opportunities – the kinds of opportunities that our businesses and families are looking for.
We talk a lot in the Senate about what our workers and businesses need to thrive and grow here in New Hampshire. And rarely do we as legislators have the ability to give our businesses and workers what they are looking for.
And while our businesses have many needs, commuter rail addresses 2 of their most basic problems: a modern, safe, transportation infrastructure and the retention and getting of a highly educated workforce.
New Hampshire needs to do something to attract and keep our young people here in order to drive our future economic growth. The opportunities that commuter rail offers are undeniable in this regard.
The business community and our citizens have been calling on us for years to take action on commuter rail. It is not a partisan or ideological issue – it is something that is supported by both Republicans and Democrats; business leaders, and working families.
People have been frustrated by our efforts, or lack of efforts, to bringing commuter rail to New Hampshire when the economic benefits have been shown to be undeniable.
We must find a consensus way forward to make commuter rail a reality and the environmental and engineering assessment that the Governor has asked for is an important next step.
We as legislators have a choice: invest in commuter rail as an economic engine or stick with the status quo.
We must stand with the businesses and more than 68% of New Hampshirecitizens who support bringing commuter rail to New Hampshire.”