NH citizens do not support public-private partnerships to fund a NH commuter rail - 193 citizens, 467 responses

Aug 23, 2015

Recently, a legislative committee met to study public-private partnerships to fund a NH commuter rail. The Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) decided to put the issue to Facebook members, posing the question,  “Should the state use a public-private partnership to build a commuter rail in southern NH?”

A total of 89% of respondents answered the question directly or with a concurrence. Out of these responses, a 72% majority said they would not support such partnerships to fund a NH commuter rail with 28% in favor of it. Of the remaining respondents, 8% opted to discuss the subject in broader terms while 3% commented on unrelated issues. In sum, 193 citizens participated in the discussion with a total of 467 responses. 

Many of those arguing against such partnerships expressed concerns at the project’s cost, while others questioned the need for a NH commuter rail at all. Some responses touched on both sentiments, including one respondent who noted, “There’s no need for such a waste of money and resources. If there was a market for them, the private sector would have built one years ago.” Others questioned how residents in NH would benefit, while others commented that such partnerships rarely work. One gentleman remarked, “When the private half can't sustain, the public half will fund the whole thing.” 

Several respondents who expressed support for public-private partnerships to fund a NH commuter rail noted the lines are already in place. “This is about upgrading the existing rail infrastructure, some of which is over a century old, to allow trains to safely travel at commuter rail speeds,” said one gentleman. Others cited the practical benefits of better connecting larger cities in NH with one another as well as with Boston. One respondent said, “For the future of New Hampshire, rail traffic will become more important and this in the long term will be beneficial for New Hampshire as a whole.”

For those who did not provide a direct “yes” or “no” to the question, responses ran the gamut from those expressing skepticism over whether such projects are feasible to others who commented on the condition of NH roads. One respondent noted, “Our public transportation system leaves a lot to be desired. Don't know who should pay for it, but we could use better roads and trains.” 

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

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