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House approves 10-year highway plan

CONCORD &#-; The state's latest 10-year transportation-funding plan is headed to the governor after the House on Wednesday approved the Senate's version of House Bill 1716.

The plan would spend around $2 billion on the state's highways and bridges over the next decade, with the completion of the Interstate 93 expansion from Salem to Manchester the top priority.

The I-93 expansion is funded based on the assumption the state will get the same $143 million a year in federal highway money as it currently receives.

The bill would attempt to address a $250 million shortfall for the project by issuing &#';federal highway grant anticipation bonds&#'; or GARVEE bonds.

The highway plan adds a new Exit 4A on I-93 near Londonderry.

Projects that are not fully funded in the plan include the Little Bay bridges project on the Spaulding Turnpike, widening I-93 from Bow through Concord, the reconstruction of Exit 6 and Exit 7 on I-293 in Manchester, and widening the F.E. Everett Turnpike to three lanes in both directions from Merrimack to Bedford.

In addition, the bill requires legislative approval for any projects related to the development of passenger rail service, which House Republican leaders have criticized as wasteful.

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