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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

Rail Advocates Say Private Funds Can Pay For Project Planning Process

Railroad Crossing
Photo by Tim Cummins via Flickr Creative Commons
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Passenger rail advocates are holding a news conference today in Concord. They’re hoping the state will begin a planning process for a rail line between Manchester and Boston. 

The state had considered putting $4 million dollars for rail project development in the last capital budget, but lawmakers removed it.

Today, rail proponents such as Nashua mayor Jim Donchess will unveil a plan to pay for this work without using any state funds.

New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority spokesperson E.J. Powers creating detailed plans for rail financing, engineering and permitting will give a clearer picture of how and when a rail line might be built – and the range of sources that could pay for it: “the potential for federal funding, the potential for regional partners to contribute, to engage private businesses in public-private partnerships," he says.

The Capital Corridor study concluded a Manchester to Boston service with stops in Nashua would attract about 668,000 riders a year and lead to 5,600 new jobs by 2030.

Critics question those estimates and point to the costs of building the line, estimated at $246 million. 

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