Hampshire Supreme Court has ruled that fuel tax money collected in the
state cannot be used for commuter rail projects, according to court documents.
was part of a case involving a commuter rail project the state is building
in the Nashua area. The Nashua Regional Planning Commission is partnering
with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and the city of Nashua
to develop the project, which would carry commuters from Nashua to Boston
via Lowell, MA.
would extend the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority commuter service that
now terminates in Lowell.
to The Associated Press, supporters of the rail project had contended
that railroads were a form of public highway, and therefore the state could
use highway funds to aid construction of the project.
Hampshire Motor Transport Association sued to prevent the use of highway
funds, and the court agreed.
In an April
19 decision, the court said that documents and evidence in the case that
the state’s laws were intended “to prevent motor vehicle fees and taxes
from being siphoned away from highway uses.”
It is clear,
the court said, that the purpose of Article 6 of the state’s Constitution “was
to protect funds raised from fees associated with automobile ownership
and use from being diverted to purposes not directly benefiting those who
paid the fees.”