Those who follow transportation issues here in New Hampshire know that in March of 2012, advocates of extending commuter rail from Massachuseets into Nashua and as far north as Concord suffered a major setback when the Governor's Executive Council voted to not accept a large federal grant that would fund a further planning study. The big stumbling block for the Council was the matching funds that the state would need to provide to receive the grant. And of course they also heard from those who strongly oppose the project due to the certain need for taxpayer subsidy for commuter rail that would likely last forever given the history of commuter rail throughout the country.
Although the Council decision rendered the issue moot for awhile, renewed efforts to get commuter rail into New Hampshire were pretty much considered inevitable. As we know from recent news, the effort is now very much alive again. It has been one of the first issues of the year before state legislators, will soon be discussed by the Governor's Council (which has new members this year), and plans are being developed to use highway tolls to fund a feasibility study.
During the 2012 election cycle on my "Tell It Like It Is" show, I discussed commuter rail as an upcoming issue with all five gubernatorial candidates, with candidates for the Governor's Council, and with the candidates who were seeking to represent Bedford in the NH Senate.
In June, I also taped a show which presented the pro positions for commuter rail, and began to plan a show that would present the anti-rail positions. With so many candidate shows being taped and aired, the pro-rail show was put on the shelf for later viewing, and the anti show was postponed until a more convenient time in our production schedule.
Well now that the subject of commuter rail is again a hot topic in New Hampshire, the show completed in June is finally going to be aired on BCTV Channel 16 starting this Friday, January 25. Called "The Future of Commuter Rail" , the show's guest is former Bedford Town Council Chairman Michael Izbicki. In addition to being a transportation engineer who has worked on the development of multiple rail and passenger transit projects throughout the country, Izbicki worked on the NH passenger rail issue with the Southern NH Planning Commission, as well working on it as a member and executive director of the NH Rail Transit Authority. The show will be broadcast on the following schedule through to Thursday evening, January 31st:
Friday/Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday - 9:00 AM, 9:00 PM
Saturday/Monday/Wednesday - 1:00 PM, 6:00 PM
It can also be watched at anytime by going to www.tellitlikeitisnh.com . Simply click onto the Issues page.
In coming weeks, watch for an announcement of additional show that will feature a discussion on the reasons why commuter rail has so many opponents in NH.