May 4, 2016 8:23 AM

NH lawmakers nix money to extend commuter rail from Mass. to Nashua, Manchester, Concord

CONCORD - The Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday refused to reinstate $4 million in mostly federal money needed to further commuter rail expansion in New Hampshire - a project that had strong support from many business, political and civic leaders in Nashua, Manchester and Concord.

The Concord Monitor reported the five-member committee voted along party lines against reinstating the money to the governor's 10-year transportation plan.

"It's disappointing because it's the project development phase. The state is not on the hook for any money. It doesn't bind the state to any project design. And it's supported by a number of nonprofits, stakeholders and the business community," said state Sen. Dan Feltes, D-Concord.

Feltes voted to reinstate the $3.8 million in federal transportation money and $800,000 in surplus state toll credits needed to assess the environmental and engineering impact of expanding commuter rail from Massachusetts to Nashua and points north. The study also is needed for the state to seek federal railroad grants in the future.

The last hope to restore the funding this legislative session will take place when the full Senate is scheduled to meet on Thursday.

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