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Roy Schweiker: A commuter rail quiz for N.H.



For the Monitor
Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Various N.H. politicians who want to sound progressive are promoting commuter rail service to Boston. I can see why this is a good idea for Massachusetts, as they can collect income tax from the workers and sales tax from the shoppers with no need to provide housing for the riders or schools for their kids. To see if you think it’s a good idea for New Hampshire, take the quiz below. Start with a score of 0, and for each pair of statements add or subtract 1 depending on which best represents your views.

A) Southern New Hampshire has too many vacant housing units, and rents are too low. We need to fill them with people who work out of state. Add 1.

B) Southern New Hampshire has a housing shortage. There aren’t enough units for the people who work there. Subtract 1.

A) The unemployment rate is too high in Southern New Hampshire. We need to help people find jobs elsewhere. Add 1.

B) Businesses are having trouble finding workers. The state should not subsidize those who work elsewhere. Subtract 1.

A) The roads and bridges in New Hampshire are in good shape, and social programs are overfunded, so there is plenty of money for a train. Add 1.

B) New Hampshire has many crumbling roads and bridges, and more should be spent on social programs to help many rather than trains for a few. Subtract 1.

A) The Nashua area is economically depressed, and the rest of the state should chip in on a train for them. Add 1.

B) The Nashua area is doing better economically than most other regions of the state, they can pay for their own train if they want one. Subtract 1.

A) There is too much vacant land in the Nashua area, which should be filled with homes and businesses. Add 1.

B) The area near the rail corridor is mostly built out, so more development means sprawl. Subtract 1.

A) There is a lack of high-end shopping in New Hampshire, so we should subsidize people who need to shop in Boston instead. Add 1.

B) We should not encourage people to shop out of state, but want them to buy from New Hampshire businesses. Subtract 1.

If your total is positive, you should think a train is a good thing. If your score is negative, then why would you want one?

(Roy Schweiker lives in Concord.)