Gov. John Lynch has signed a bill into law in New Hampshire that is intended to help protect funding for transportation work throughout the state.
The new law, previously HB1618, limits the amount of money that can be transferred from the highway trust fund for non-transportation uses. A portion of the diverted funds will be returned for roads.
Advocates for protecting highway funding point out that during the 2008 fiscal year $82 million in fuel tax revenue were rerouted from the Department of Transportation to several state agencies. Another 12 percent of fuel tax money is sent to municipalities.
Mike Joyce, senior government affairs representative for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said the changes make sense.
“This is how states should try to correct the wrongs of their past decisions on highway spending and the diversion of intended resources,” Joyce told Land Line Magazine.
During the next five years, the bill will phase in caps on the transfer of highway trust funds.
The reallocation will begin July 2009, with the threshold being amended July 2011 and July 2013. At that time, transfers from the highway fund to the Department of Safety will be capped at 26 percent. Another 1.25 percent will be paid to other agencies.
To view other legislative activities of interest for New Hampshire in 2008, click here.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor