Metro

New England news in brief

Concord, N.H.

State Senate approves analysis of rail to Boston

The State Senate approved a bill to allow the Transportation Department to access existing federal funds to complete a commuter rail expansion analysis from Boston to Nashua and Manchester. Governor Chris Sununu included federal funding for project development in the state’s 10-year Transportation Improvement Plan. The analysis would examine multiple aspects of the proposed Capitol Corridor Rail Expansion Project, which would extend passenger rail from Boston to Manchester, with two stops in Nashua, a stop at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and a stop in downtown Manchester. (AP)

North Kingstown, R.I.

State tests self-driving shuttle service

The operator of Rhode Island’s first self-driving shuttle service says it will be the first in the nation to integrate with public mass transit. Edwin Olson, chief executive of Michigan startup May Mobility, unveiled the new fleet at a kickoff event Wednesday. It’s nicknamed the Little Roady. The company is testing the electric shuttles in the Quonset Business Park before moving them to Providence streets this spring. The state Department of Transportation awarded the company an $800,000 contract to run the low-speed shuttles on a 5-mile loop underserved by public buses. It will connect several neighborhoods to Providence’s train station. Each vehicle holds six people, including an attendant who’ll have the ability to fully control the shuttle at any time. The service will be free for a year. (AP)

Hartford

Flag honoring police stirs State House dispute

Connecticut Republicans are seeking to return a police-themed flag to the state Capitol. The handmade Thin Blue Line flag had been displayed for two months until it was removed this week over concerns that it was disrespectful to the Black Lives Matter movement. House Republican leader Themis Klarides said the flag should be promptly reinstated, and the suggestion that the flag is anything other than honorable is ‘‘categorically false.’’ Klarides said the flag was donated by State Capitol Police to honor law enforcement officers. Democratic Representative Brandon McGee, who had supported removing the flag, said he now wants it restored after speaking with the head of the state Fraternal Order of Police. (AP)

Thorndike, Maine

All but one firefighter resign over safety issues

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All but one of the 28 members in the volunteer firefighting department in Thorndike resigned after the town’s selectboard meeting Wednesday. The firefighters say in a letter that they are resigning due to ‘‘outdated and unsafe equipment’’ that town officials refuse to replace. Before the meeting, the firefighters had wanted the town to reinstate George Russell as a firefighter and release about $85,000 from the department’s truck and equipment replacement fund. Russell stepped down from chief after he acknowledged stealing more than $5,000 from the department in 2014. Selectman Bob Carter said the town has mutual aid agreements with other communities in case of emergencies. (AP)