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Thursday, October 1, 2009

High-speed rail project sidetracked

In the Union Leader, Garry Rayno follows up on yesterday's news that New Hampshire will not apply for $300 million in federal stimulus funding to build a commuter train.
Department of Transportation Commissioner George Campbell blamed Pan Am Railways for ending negotiations in June on the use of tracks it owns between Nashua and Concord. The state needs operating rights to apply for the money.

"It's very unfortunate that we are not able to take advantage of this huge window of opportunity for passenger rail in New Hampshire with any prospect of success at this time due to the lack of cooperation and involvement of Pan Am Railways, the host railroad along the corridor. By walking away from this unique and exciting initiative, Pan Am has effectively closed the window on strengthening New Hampshire's economy," Campbell said in a statement.

The deadline to apply for the $8 billion federal stimulus money for high-speed rail is tomorrow. Campbell said without operating rights, submitting an application would "wreck our credibility."

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