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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. Transportation Committee Hears Bill On Providing Driver's Licenses To Undocumented Residents

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The house transportation committee voted on Friday that it would be inexpedient to legislate a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license.

This is the second attempt to pass a driver’s license bill in as many years to move this legislation forward in New Hampshire. In 2019, a similar bill passed the House, but died in the Senate.

The proposed bill this year would have allowed someone without a social security number to apply for a driver’s license, and it would have prohibited the DMV from releasing certain vehicle records to immigration enforcement agencies.

Some members said the bill needed more work; others said that driving was a privilege and not a right.

“I don’t see any references to the financial responsibility laws for having licenses,” said Republican Rep. Steven Smith, from Charlestown.

Those who testified in favor of the bill Friday morning said it would increase roadway safety.

“There’s a big web of stuff that could be resolved if we just allow the people to be who they are, and have some type of identification,” said Eva Castillo, who lives in Manchester.

Hollis police chief Joseph Hoebeke also testified in favor of the bill. He said it would provide people a way to show that they can safely drive, since they’d be taking driving tests, and it could help his officers.

“Because it provides them with a way to obtain accurate information, so if they write a summons, they know that the person listed on that summons is who they say they are.”

Nashua police chief Michael Carignan also supported the bill. The two chiefs have been meeting with leaders in the immigrant community over the past several months to discuss this legislation, and to build relationships.

Both chiefs said that having a form of state ID could lessen the fear some people in immigrant communities have of calling the police for other issues, such as domestic violence. Some worry that calling the police, and not having a state ID, could mean a call to immigration enforcement agencies.  

“With that comfort [of a license] comes the trust in law enforcement that we’re there to help,” Carignan said. “It’s important for us to have that trust, and that trust, if it means giving them a license to drive a vehicle, and that’s it. I think that goes a long way to solving a huge problem for us.”

Aloisio Costa is a pastor at a church in Nashua. He said that piece of identification would provide peace of mind for people as they go about their day. 

“They’re part of the community,” he said. “They're working, they're producing, they need to go to a doctor's appointment, go to school, go about their business.”  

Elizabeth Bielecki, director of the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles, testified against the bill. She said that it did not “provide clear authority for the division to issue licenses for those without a legal status.”

There are state statutes that allow the DMV to provide licenses for nonresidents in the country on a temporary status, including students at private or public institutions in New Hampshire, and those here for employment.

More than 250 people registered their support for the bill without testifying, and 7 people registered their opposition.

The committee also voted on Friday that it would be inexpedient to legislate a bill that would have indicated citizenship or legal residency on drivers’ licenses and nondrivers’ identification cards.

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