Kuster Unveils Bipartisan Legislation to Help Finance New Hampshire Passenger Rail
Nashua, N.H., February 25, 2020
Nashua, NH - Today, Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) unveiled her bipartisan legislation, H.R. 5947, Invest in American Railroads Act, at a roundtable discussion on rail initiatives in Nashua. The bill makes critical improvements to the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program (RRIF) and would help New Hampshire pay for the Capitol Corridor Project to connect Manchester and Nashua to Boston via commuter rail. Kuster has been a strong advocate for passenger rail, writing in support of funding for the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) New and Small Starts grant programs, which help pay for passenger rail programs. Rep. Kuster introduced the legislation alongside Representatives Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) and Chris Pappas (D-NH).
“Passenger rail will be a gamechanger for New Hampshire, helping to spur economic competitiveness and help keep Granite Staters from spending hours sitting in traffic,” said Rep. Kuster. “It will also plug New Hampshire’s burgeoning tech industry with the vast pools of talent in the region, helping bring the best and brightest minds in to employers in Nashua and Manchester. This legislation is a win-win for working families and for our state’s economy. I look forward to sharing the insights I heard at today’s roundtable with my colleagues as we continue working to improve our transportation infrastructure.”
“When our states are looking to build and improve our railways, such as a passenger rail from Manchester to Boston, it’s critical that we set them up for success,” said Congressman Chris Pappas. “This legislation will improve loan programs our states may utilize as we undertake ambitious rail projects that improve our regional economies and create good paying jobs. As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I look forward to continuing to find ways to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure in a bipartisan way that moves our country forward.
The RRIF program was created by Congress in 1998 to support the development of passenger and short line railroads by authorizing the Department of Transportation to issue funds to public or private entities for the purpose of rehabilitating or building new track, bridges, rail yards, and other support structures. However, the program is significantly underutilized. The Invest in American Railroads Act will enable states, local governments and private groups to find RRIF a viable option to upgrade their existing rail infrastructure and develop new lines and rail facilities.