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A nonpartisan business coalition was formed yesterday to advocate for extending passenger rail from Boston to Manchester, New Hampshire.The New Hampshire Business for Rail Expansion has released a list of more than 50 businesses, organizations and individuals in support of the extension. The list includes Northwestern Mutual and University of New Hampshire.The group was formed as New Hampshire lawmakers consider the state's 10-year transportation improvement plan, which includes $4 million for the proposed project's development phase, which would development phase of the proposed rail project. The project development phase would provide a detailed engineering, environmental and geotechnical analysis, as well as a financial plan for expanding rail to Manchester, coalition officials said in a press release."New Hampshire's economy is strong, but a well-documented lack of in-migration and aging population is hurting businesses that need to fill jobs, which is detrimental to the state's future," said New Hampshire Business for Rail Expansion spokesman E.J. Powers. "For companies to grow and prosper right here in New Hampshire, they need access to a younger, highly educated workforce."An expanded rail system could play an important part in attracting younger workers to the state, Powers added.The Boston-to-Manchester route could serve a minimum of 668,000 annual riders, according to the coalition.
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