Bipartisan Legislation Could Make it Easier to Fund Capitol Corridor Project, Connecting Manchester and Nashua to Boston Via Passenger Rail
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced the Railroad Rehabilitation and Financing Innovation Act, bipartisan legislation to improve the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan program, which is designed to provide direct loans to help develop passenger and short line railroads in New Hampshire and across the country. The bipartisan legislation would make it easier for businesses and communities to apply for this loan program and increase the flexibility of it. The loan could be used to help finance projects like the Capitol Corridor Project that would connect Manchester and Nashua to Boston via commuter rail.
“As communities consider steps to promote economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, this bipartisan legislation looks ahead to strengthen funding opportunities for passenger rail,” said Senator Hassan. “Passenger rail can provide a significant economic boost to Granite State communities, and as Congress considers future transportation and infrastructure packages, it should prioritize passenger rail efforts.”
“RRIF was created to provide stable financing to small railroads for infrastructure investment, however, shortlines are often unable to afford the time and expense associated with the current RRIF application process, discouraging them from using the program,” said Senator Thune. “This legislation makes necessary updates to RRIF, so that shortlines are better able to use the program as originally intended.”
“Passenger rail connecting Nashua to Boston will greatly help our people and economy,” said Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess. “Economic investments like passenger rail are more important than ever as we consider long-term recovery from COVID-19, and I am glad to see Senator Hassan’s bipartisan push to make it easier to fund passenger rail.”
“Manchester residents and businesses have advocated for the expansion of commuter rail for years,” said Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig. “Additional funding for projects like the New Hampshire Capital Corridor would help communities like Manchester expand economic development opportunities, attract a youthful workforce and increase accessibility to employment. I want to thank Senator Hassan for her efforts to fight for commuter rail in the Granite State.”
Senator Hassan has long fought to bring passenger rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester, including signing legislation as Governor to help advance the study necessary to move the project forward. Senator Hassan also recently introduced legislation help spur federal investment in passenger rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester. The bill would increase funding for the federal Capital Investment Grant program and prioritize projects connecting smaller cities to existing passenger rail in larger cities, making it easier for New Hampshire to secure the grant funding needed to move forward with passenger rail.