More funds for bridge, road repair?

Sep 26, 2017

BY: Citizens Count

Every two years the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Executive Council, and the governor develop a ten-year plan for transportation infrastructure. Right now they are hosting public hearings on a draft plan.

Click here for a list of all the public hearing times and locations

According to the DOT presentation, the proposed ten-year plan focuses on:

  • Pavement preservation
  • Bridge preservation
  • Red list bridge repair
  • Widening of I-93, including the new Exit 4A

The challenge of “red list” bridges

“Red list” bridges are in poor condition and require inspections twice a year.

The draft ten-year transportation plan addresses repairs or maintenance on 135 of 140 state-owned red list bridges.

However, according the DOT the state will need to invest at least an additional $6 million per year to stop a projected increase in the number of red list bridges.

Read more about red listed bridges in New Hampshire.

Other unfunded projects

The DOT also reports it will need at least $12 million more per year to keep up with deteriorating pavement on state roads.

Other unfunded projects include:

  • Culvert replacement
  • Guardrail replacement
  • Rock slopes
  • Sound walls

Is more funding really needed?

The Legislature already increased funding for transportation infrastructure this year by dedicating a budget surplus to local road repairs

A gas tax increase in 2014 also generated more funds for transportation infrastructure.

State transportation officials argue this is still not enough. They point to a recent report from the American Society of Civil Engineers that gave New Hampshire a C- grade for its roads

But with the appetite for another gas tax hike likely to be low, the answer might lie at the federal level. President Trump has voiced support for a bill to increase federal transportation infrastructure funding.

Commuter rail

The proposed plan does not include any funding for further study of a southern New Hampshire commuter rail. In 2016 the Legislature cut a commuter rail study from the ten-year plan. 

Read more about commuter rail in New Hampshire.

Next steps

The Executive Council and the DOT released a draft ten-year transportation plan in August. They are hosting public hearings on the draft through October. The governor will revise and finalize the plan in December. The Legislature will get a chance to review and approve the ten-year transportation plan in 2018.

Do you have an opinion on New Hampshire’s ten-year transportation plan? Let us know in the comments.

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