Legislative negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on a 10-year highway plan for New Hampshire.
The House and Senate still must vote on Friday's agreement, which is one of two measures aimed at making needed highway improvements. Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a 4-cent increase on the gas and diesel tax into law this week. Tax proceeds will pay $200 million of the $250 million needed to finish expanding Interstate 93 from the Massachusetts border to Manchester.
A lot of government officials like to speak up about what they’ve accomplished, but our guest today, Christopher Clement, has been speaking up for what he has not been able to do. For the last two and a half years, Clement has served as New Hampshire’s Transportation commissioner, and during that time he’s expressed his frustration over numbers that he says speak for themselves. The department is paving 200 fewer miles of roads each year, there are 145 “red-listed” bridges and nearly 40% of our roads are considered in poor condition.
A legislative stalemate over raising the gas tax and legalizing a casino could drive highway contractors out of New Hampshire to look for work in nearby states willing to fund infrastructure improvements.
The New Hampshire House passed a gas tax this year that the Senate killed. At the same time, the Senate passed a casino bill that the House rejected.
Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement said this past week that he worries funding won't be available to finish the state's top priority — expanding Interstate 93.
Governor John Lynch got a first hand look at two major projects on the Spaulding Turnpike in Southern New Hampshire.
The Governor personally toured the expansion projects now underway on the pike on the Northern end in Rochester, and the Southern end between Newington and Portsmouth. The widening projects are intended to relieve traffic congestion on both ends of the Spaulding, especially at the Little Bay Bridge over Great Bay.