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Garry Rayno's Under the State House Dome: Fuel tax vote slated in Senate
He noted the road is way above capacity and sees frequent accidents.
The current structure is too narrow for the next generation of freight tankers carrying oil, propane, salt and other products into Portsmouth Harbor. In addition, the Navy uses the bridge's railroad trestle to carry spent nuclear fuel rods from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, he said, and if that was no longer possible, the facility would probably close during the next round of base shutdowns.
The House committee decided to take $1.2 million a year earmarked for guardrail replacement and use it for secondary road rehabilitation projects, and it redirected $1.1 million from turnpike exit renumbering to paving projects on rural roads.
The Senate gas tax agreement allocates the $32 million the same way for 2015.
The Senate appears to have 14 or 15 votes for the gas tax increase, which would be the first since 1991, but the bill has a poison pill: the elimination of the Exit 12 tolls on the F.E. Everett in Merrimack.
That worries some who believe the roads and bridges are in the worst shape they have been in in some time.
Medicaid Expansion: For the second time this year, the House will vote to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act Tuesday, sending Senate Bill 413 to Hassan and her signature.
The New Hampshire Health Protection Program establishes a two-and-a-half year pilot program that would end if the state does not receive federal approval for program provisions or if federal government does not pay 100 percent of the costs.
About 12,000 people who qualify and have insurance through their employers would begin coverage under an existing state program to pay premiums in four to six weeks. The other 38,000 would go onto the state's Medicaid managed-care program July 1 and then move to private insurance during 2016 if a waiver was approved by March 31, 2015. If the waiver is denied, the program would end in six months.
The compromise requires at least three waivers from the Center for Medicaid Services, but would begin without the most significant, which would allow the state to use private insurers to cover those whose income is between 0 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
The program is expected to bring in about $340 million annually for the state's health care providers once it is running at capacity.
The only question about Tuesday's vote is how long the debate will last and whether former Speaker Bill O'Brien's followers will apply their method of filibuster as they did last week, dragging out debates on a gun bill, a paint disposal program and a fetal homicide bill.
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