Rail supporters in New Hampshire are hopeful that the creation of a new rail authority will help bring long-sought commuter rail to the state.
"Now, rail boosters and others say that commuters will be chugging along as soon as 2010 with the New Hampshire Legislature's creation of an authority charged with developing and managing the return of passenger service from Lowell through Nashua and Manchester."
"The 25-member authority is considered the linchpin in returning commuter rail to the state. The authority will be empowered to make contracts, collect money, and carry on other required business for the commuter rail."
"Currently, the only passenger train access to New Hampshire from the south is the Amtrak Downeaster that starts in Boston and ends in Portland, making New Hampshire stops in Dover, Durham, and Exeter. It is considered passenger rail, not commuter rail, because it makes a limited number of trips."
"Critics, though, say the authority's structure is financially dubious and fundamentally flawed. State Representative Neal Kurk , a member of the House Finance Committee, said the legislation does not identify funding sources for the rail, leaving the state vulnerable to having to come up with the money should funding not come through from other entities, like the federal government."