New Hampshire public hearings to address 10-year transportation plan

| 9/15/2009

Transportation officials in New Hampshire are asking for feedback from residents on several road and bridge proposals throughout the state.

The state Department of Transportation opened more than 30 public hearings this week on New Hampshire’s 10-year transportation plan. The initiative is intended to identify roadwork while also addressing how to pay for the program. The state is confronted with tight budget constraints.

New Hampshire did get a shot in the arm this year with the infusion of $130 million for roads and bridges from the federal government, but it is a short-term boost.

A state legislative commission says in order to get work done on the state’s 10-year plan, more revenue sources must be found. The group is looking into increasing fuel taxes, public-private partnerships, bonding opportunities and possible vehicle-miles-traveled taxes to help reach their funding goals.

These options and more are expected to be discussed at public hearings that run from this week to Oct. 29. To see a list of the hearings scheduled across the state during the next few weeks, click here.

Citizens will be able to comment on the draft plan, which includes $20 million to widen Interstate 93 from Manchester to the Massachusetts line and to retrofit tolls in Hooksett for high-speed passage. Another priority is fixing the state’s most deficient bridges. New Hampshire has 137 “red list” bridges, and 87 of them are in the 10-year plan.

The commission responsible for drafting the 10-year plan will meet for a final discussion and vote on the plan this fall. They must submit the plan to Gov. John Lynch in December. The governor will take the plan to lawmakers during the 2010 regular session, where the Legislature must approve it before the session wraps up in late in June.

Anyone unable to attend the public hearings through the end of October can submit written testimony within 10 days of each of the public hearings. Written comments should be addressed to:

William J. Cass, P.E.
Director of Project Development
New Hampshire Department of Transportation
John O. Morton Building, 7 Hazen Drive
P.O. Box 483
Concord, NH 03302-0483

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Hampshire in 2009, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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