A group of New Hampshire mayors and mayors-elect rallied around Hillary Clinton’s newly released infrastructure plan Monday, expressing optimism that the Democratic presidential candidate’s proposals will provide a long-awaited boost to local development.
As outlined by her campaign, Clinton is proposing an additional $275 billion in federal funding for infrastructure over a five year period, which she says will be paid for “through business tax reform.”
Her plan includes proposals to expand public transportation and passenger rail, repair roads and bridges, upgrade airports, and to extend broadband networks to all American households. She’s also pitching the creation of a new national infrastructure bank, meant to provide loans and other financial help to state and local officials for infrastructure projects.
On a local level, Clinton’s plan has elicited praise from current and soon-to-be mayors around the state. The campaign is touting support from Mayor Jim Bouley of Concord, Mayor T.J. Jean and Mayor-elect Caroline McCarley of Rochester, Mayor Dana Hilliard of Somersworth, Mayor Kendall Lane of Keene, Mayor Robert Lister and Mayor-elect Jack Blalock of Portsmouth, and Mayor-elect Jim Donchess of Nashua.
On a conference call with reporters Monday morning, Hilliard said local communities like his are often in a bind when it comes to maintaining roads and bridges.
"With our beautiful yet very harsh winters that all of us are aware of, New Hampshire roads and bridges and all infrastructure are taking a serious beating annually," Hilliard said. "And local municipalities like Somersworth are in a constant struggle to maintain their infrastructure, and often must neglect it, and neglect much-needed repairs due to our very limited resources at the local level."
On Clinton's plan, specifically, Hilliard added: "It would be a surge for local businesses, and a signal that she believes our economy has room to grow substantially."
Lane, of Keene, echoed these statements on the importance of keeping up with infrastructure projects in his area and specifically praised Clinton's proposal to create a national infrastructure bank to support local development.
"Here in Keene, we are part dependent on our roads, our bridges, our infrastructure, our ability to access the outside world," Lane said. "We are a fairly rural community, we are fairly isolated from many other parts of the state, and our businesses here are totally dependent upon our ability to maintain and improve on our infrastructure."