New Hampshire's Infrastructure

Some Facts About New Hampshire’s Infrastructure:

New Hampshire has approximately 17,000 miles of state and town roads, turnpikes and interstate highways. There are 3,795 bridges in the state. As of 2010, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation plowed more than 800 lane miles of roads and put down 180,000 tons of salt for snow and ice control annually.

The state was given a “C” grade by the American Society of Civil Engineers for the condition of its roads and bridges. New Hampshire was rated among the worst in the country for the poor condition of its bridges by Transportation For America. On average, bridges are older in New Hampshire than those in the rest of the country.  There are hundreds of bridges on the so-called “red list,” which means that the bridges have major structural problems and need to be repaired or replaced.

The state also has a poor record when it comes to public transportation. New Hampshire has no comprehensive rail system and is rated 42nd in terms of investment in public transportation according to the State Department of Transportation.

The majority of New Hampshire’s infrastructure funding comes from vehicle registration fees and gas taxes. The state takes out fewer bond loans than other states and considers its funding a “pay as you go” system.  The gas tax, the lowest in New England, has not been raised since 1991. The 2011 Legislature did away with a motor vehicle fee increase.  That change has meant more $30 million a year in cuts to DOT.

The $800 million expansion of I-93 from Salem to Manchester began in 2006, but has been delayed several times because of a lack of funding. Supporters of the expansion say it will update one of the country’s most congested highways and bring needed tourism revenue to the more isolated and less economically robust northern part of the state. Traffic on I-93 has increased 600 percent since the highway was built in the 1960s and approximately 80,000 cars now drive on it each day.

Summary provided by StateImpact NH

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News Primer
4:31 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

NHPR News Primer: N.H.'s Cell Phone Ban

Credit Sara Plourde

Gov. Maggie Hassan is expected to sign legislation making it illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving or stopped in traffic.

The bill, passed by the New Hampshire House last week, represents “the most comprehensive distracted driving bill in the nation,” according to legislative testimony from Earl Sweeney, assistant commissioner of public safety.

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The Sidebar
11:41 am
Tue April 15, 2014

News Primer: N.H.'s Cell Phone Ban

Gov. Maggie Hassan is expected to sign legislation making it illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving or stopped in traffic.

The bill, passed by the New Hampshire House last week, represents “the most comprehensive distracted driving bill in the nation,” according to legislative testimony from Earl Sweeney, assistant commissioner of public safety.

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NH News
7:51 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Hassan Takes Up Infrastucture With Berlin Bridge Visit

Gov. Maggie Hassan is visiting a bridge in Berlin, N.H., to talk about the need to strengthen investment in the state's transportation's infrastructure.

She's visiting the Hillside Avenue Bridge on Wednesday. She says the replacement of the bridge is an important project for traffic, safety and commerce in the area. Hassan said the replacement would be accelerated by the transportation funding bill that recently passed the Senate.

The bridge visit is taking place Wednesday afternoon.

The Exchange
9:00 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Distracted Driving In N.H.

Credit epSos.de / Flickr Creative Commons

The legislature looks at limits on texting and talking while behind the wheel.  We’re looking at the current bill in New Hampshire, and some of the research and debate on this issue nationally.

GUESTS:

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NH News
6:00 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Bedford Voters To Consider $30M Bond For Road Improvements

Voters in Bedford will decide next week whether to pass a $30 million bond to pay for a backlog of road improvements.

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Gearing Up For Another Gas Tax Debate

Credit rob.ewart / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire Transportation Commissioner Christopher Clement has long pointed out that when it comes to our infrastructure, we’re not doing too well. Nearly 40% of the state’s roads are considered in poor condition, and almost one hundred and fifty bridges are red listed. Although Clement remains ‘revenue agnostic’ over where the funding comes from, others have a clear idea: raising the gas tax, which hasn’t been raised in New Hampshire in over twenty years.  Supporters say this would be the most comprehensive and fair solution.

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The Sidebar
6:00 am
Tue January 21, 2014

The Sidebar: N.H. Legislators Will Make Another Run At Raising Gas Tax

Granite State motorists are driving more fuel-efficient vehicles, which means they’re buying less gas. Motorists purchased almost 60 million fewer gallons of gas in 2012 than they did in 2005. That translated into an $11 million decrease in revenue.
Credit Department of Safety Road Toll Bureau

A year after failing to agree on how to pay for a long list of road and bridge improvements, lawmakers will take another shot at bolstering the state’s chronically underfunded infrastructure this session.

Several bills are on the table, including one that would channel proceeds from a casino into the state’s highway fund.

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The Exchange
1:27 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

DOT Commissioner, Chris Clement

Credit nh.gov/dot

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.

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The Exchange
12:14 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

N.H. Roads: How Did We Get Here?

New Hampshire is in one of the most costly parts of the country for winter road maintenance. Plowing costs often eat at paving budgets.
Credit NHDOT

As discussed on The Exchange this morning, the state legislature is gearing up once again for a debate about raising the gas tax. One big issue behind the debate is the deteriorating state of New Hampshire's roads.

Here is a look back at some reporting on the issue by Emily Corwin last spring, including this video explainer, and below, five reasons our roads are deteriorating.

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Newscast
7:54 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Icy Roads Lead To Accidents, Road Closures

Some areas of New Hampshire are dealing with icy road conditions, as freezing rain continues through the morning.

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NH News
10:24 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Spaulding Turnpike's Exit 3 Closing For Two Weeks In January

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation says it will close the Spaulding Turnpike Exit 3 southbound off-ramp in Newington for two weeks in January.

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On the Political Front
8:33 am
Mon December 9, 2013

On The Political Front For Dec. 9

    

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers discusses discussion in the Statehouse about expanded gambling and lack of funds for highway projects, as well as Republican Bob Smith, a former U.S. Senator, declaring his candidacy for his old seat.

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