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Here’s what’s next for the infrastructure package in New Hampshire

photo of Rep. Annie Kuster in Manchester
Todd Bookman/NHPR
Congresswoman Annie Kuster joined other officials Tuesday to hail the passage of a federal infrastructure bill.

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation—four Democrats who all voted for the infrastructure spending package passed by the U.S. House last week—gathered under a rusting bridge that spans the Merrimack River in Manchester on Tuesday to hail the $1 trillion bill as a win for the state.

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The funding package touches on a wide variety of infrastructure, from bridges and sewage projects to airports and electrical vehicle charging stations.

“Over a billion dollars coming to New Hampshire,” Congresswoman Annie Kuster said, noting the size and monetary scale of the plan requires close attention. "We have to keep our ‘m’s’ and ‘b’s’ and ‘t’s’ straight.”

With the spending now approved by Congress, it will be up to New Hampshire Department of Transportation Commissioner Victoria Sheehan to oversee how portions of it are awarded.

During the press conference, Sheehan said transportation officials began identifying potential highway projects even before the bill’s approval last Friday.

“Because of the level of bipartisan support for the plan, we had anticipated some increases in federal funding,” Sheehan said.

The state is currently in the process of revising its 10 Year Transportation plan, a regularly updated guidance document that lays out which roads, bridges and other transit projects are slated for upgrades. That document will now be expanded to include the additional federal money, before it heads to the Executive Council for approval.

“Then we will send it to the governor for his consideration,” Sheehan said. “And finally, the plan will be delivered to the legislature and advanced this session before being signed into law in June 2022.”

Among the projects likely to see funding are many of the state’s 341 “red list” bridges, which have been identified as structurally deficient.

A proposed commuter rail line linking Boston with Nashua, Manchester and possibly Concord is already in what Sheehan called a project design phase, with officials now finalizing the route, location of stations, and funding needs. That proposal will likely take another 12 months to complete.

Here’s a breakdown of what New Hampshire will receive as part of the legislation, according to the delegation:

  • At least $1.1 billion in federal highway aid, and $225 million in additional funds for bridge replacement and repair
  • At least $125 million over five years for public transportation
  • At least $100 million to expand broadband coverage to the small portions of the state where that service is currently not available
  • Approximately $420 million for investment into water infrastructure
  • $5.6 million to protect against wildfires
  • $45 million for the state’s airports
  • $12.4 million to protect against cyberattacks
Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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