1st District forum features Guinta, Shea-Porter
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta said Monday he opposes federal subsidies for high speed rail in New England in part because he objects to New Hampshire residents traveling out of state to work.
Guinta's comments came during his first post-primary forum with his Democratic challenger, Carol Shea-Porter. The two are in a rematch of 2010, when Guinta, the former mayor of Manchester, unseated Shea-Porter, who had held the 1st Congressional District seat for two terms.
While high speed rail may provide an economic boost to communities along the route, Guinta said it doesn't make sense in New Hampshire because it's too expensive, it's not self-sustaining and because the population base is too small.
"I never quite understood this notion of sending our residents out of state to work someplace else," Guinta said. "I understand, particularly from my 10 years as mayor, the economic impact along the corridor, but I think there's a lot of different ways we can grow our economy here in New Hampshire."
Shea-Porter replied that the state's unemployment rate would be far higher if southern New Hampshire residents stopped commuting to Massachusetts. She backs federal help for high speed rail because it reduces highway congestion and gas consumption.
"Of course we need high speed rail," she said. "Anybody who's ever traveled down the I-93 corridor knows it; anyone who's ever had the pleasure of traveling by train to work understands that this is a good way to travel."
"Where does the money come from?" Guinta asked.
The closest the two came to agreeing on any issue was when, in a nod to Twitter, they were asked to describe their economic philosophies in 140 characters or less.
"Pro-growth economic principles, predictability for job creators and entrepreneurs, and reducing federal government oversight into our personal and business lives," Guinta said, going well over the character limit.