Outgoing Department of Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement says fixing a long-standing deficit in the state's highway fund should be a critical priority for lawmakers this session in order to keep roads and bridges safe for drivers.
Clement, who's served as commissioner for three years, is leaving his post Friday for a job at the University of New Hampshire. Clement has been aggressively communicating the department's funding struggles to lawmakers, and says the highway fund is facing a $50 million deficit by mid-2015. Operations and maintenance are the most underfunded piece of the department's budget, affecting how quickly potholes are filled and roads are cleared during weather events.
Clement says the department has 178 fewer employees than in 2008 and has reduced the number of positions every year.