New Hampshire Senate
Funds completion of I-93, returns millions to communities for road & bridge work
Concord, NH – The Senate today passed legislation that will inject more than $650 million into state and local infrastructure over the next 20 years. Using a temporary four-cent increase in the state’s road toll, Senate Bill 367 will fund $200 million in infrastructure bonds and significantly increase state aid for local road and bridge projects.
“New Hampshire’s highways, roads, and bridges are the lifeblood of our economy,” said Senate Transportation Chairman Jim Rausch, “and in order for our economy to grow and thrive, we must be willing to invest in building a strong and healthy state infrastructure.”
The road toll was last increased in 1991 during the tenure of Governor Judd Gregg. Since that time, the cost of road construction has nearly doubled and rising petroleum costs have driven asphalt prices even higher. “Economic realities have cut the purchasing power of our road toll nearly in half, and the current funding is simply inadequate to keep up with the work that must be done on our state’s roads and bridges,” continued Rausch. “This modest, long-overdue road toll adjustment is a pure user fee that asks those who use our roads to pitch in and keep New Hampshire moving forward.”
As amended by the Senate Finance Committee, the legislation clearly lays out how the additional dollars will be spent. “The bill puts careful restrictions on these new funds to ensure they go to communities, roads, and bridges,” said Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, the amendment’s original sponsor. “The I-93 bond will put these dollars to work immediately, creating new jobs and finally completing one of the most important infrastructure and economic development projects in our state. Moreover, by working in conjunction with the 10-year highway plan, this bill ensures the state can move forward with other critical project across the state, including the replacement of the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge in Portsmouth,” continued Stiles.
The Stiles amendment also details how funds are to be returned to communities – though specific increases in betterment, local block grants, and state bridge aid – and sunsets the road-toll increase in twenty years, once the I-93 bonds are paid in full. “We’re asking drivers to pay a few pennies more today to provide the capital for these needed projects, and when the work is done the tax will go as well,” concluded Stiles.
Senate Bill 367 now moves to the House for consideration.