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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

N.H. Lawmakers: Data Doesn't Support Need for Seat Belts on School Buses


Don't expect school bus passengers in New Hampshire to be required to buckle up anytime soon.

A committee of state lawmakers studying a school bus seat belt requirement is not recommending any such legislation. The committee was formed in compliance with a House Bill that was signed into law in April.

“There’s just not a lot of data to support that an effort this massive is really going to help,” says Rep. Steven Smith, the committee's chairman.

The report filed by the committee recommends monitoring other states’ attempts in order to gather data on “the risks and rewards.”

Smith notes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is continuing to study it. That group actually opposed school bus seat belts before changing its position in 2015.

Smith says no states currently require school bus passengers to wear seat belts. And he adds that school buses are already the safest form of public transportation.



Highlights of the committee's report in response to House Bill 196 include:

  • According to the NHTSA, most of 301 children killed in school bus crashes from 2006 to 2015 were pedestrians or occupants of other vehicles; only 54 of those were passengers.
  • “However, in crafting a statewide policy, we need to ensure that policy to help prevent that death does not incur further risk. Requiring seat belt use may add time to each stop, which is also dangerous.”
  • The report notes that the American Academy of Pediatrics has long recommended passenger seat belts be installed on newly manufactured school buses. It further notes the risks, or challenges, of a student trying to unbuckle in the event of a crash.
  • Adding seat belts adds approximately six percent to the cost of a new school bus.

New Hampshire does not require drivers and adults to wear seat belts for passenger vehicles. State law does include a child restraint requirementfor children under 18.
The four exceptions are in taxis and buses, vehicles manufactured before 1968, under certain special education conditions, and when a child has physical conditions that prevent the use of seat belts or child safety seats.

Dan is a long-time New Hampshire journalist who has written for outlets including Foster's Daily Democrat, The Citizen of Laconia, The Boston Globe, and The Eagle-Tribune. He comes to NHPR from the New Hampshire Union Leader, where he reported on state, local, and national politics.
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