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April 16. 2014 9:36PM

Infrastructure legislation would aim to boost Londonderry's Pettengill Road project funding


U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte and former Executive Councilor Raymond Wieczorek exited a shuttle to check out the future site of Londonderry's Pettengill Road on Wednesday afternoon. (APRIL GUILMET/Union Leader Correspondent)

LONDONDERRY — During a visit to the site of the much-touted Pettengill Road project in Londonderry on Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte said funding would be a multi-pronged effort.

Joined by State Sen. Sharon Carson, former District 4 Executive Councilor Raymond Wieczorek, Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport Director Mark Brewer and about a dozen other state and local officials, Ayotte arrived by airport shuttle shortly after 3 p.m. on Wednesday, immediately following an impromptu tour and earlier meeting to discuss pending state and federal transportation infrastructure legislation.

Addressing a small crowd at the entrance to the not-yet-built Pettengill Road, which will intersect Raymond Wieczorek Drive, Carson said the project has the potential to be the largest of its kind in the entire state and would be a boon for job-seekers around the region.

Carson, who has been working towards legislation to create a state infrastructure bank for over a year, said she reached out to Ayotte last summer.

Recognizing the widespread implications of the project, Ayotte introduced federal legislation this past fall to bolster Carson's efforts to establish the state infrastructure bank, which would leverage state and federal transportation dollars to attract private investments funding local transportation initiatives such as Pettengill Road. In addition, Ayotte's bill would update the federal highway law, which inadvertently prevents states from using federal resources to help capitalize state infrastructure banks, as it stands now.

Earlier this year, Ayotte also helped introduce the bipartisan Partnership to Build America Act, which legislates assistance to state and local government finance initiatives for building various infrastructure projects.

The bill allows U.S. companies to purchase bonds through the fund by allowing them to exclude a certain portion of their overseas earnings from taxation. The amount they are permitted to repatriate for each dollar of bond purchases would be determined by a competitive auction.

During Wednesday's meeting, Ayotte said the bill would effectively establish a $50 billion infrastructure fund that would have the potential to support up to $750 billion in loan guarantees for state and local governments.

"Infrastructure banks allow for the leverage of federal dollars needed for building infrastructure projects," she noted. "And we feel that Pettengill Road has an enormous potential."

Ayotte said the federal legislation has been filed, with a pending companion bill currently under House consideration.

"We haven't scheduled a vote yet, but I'll be pushing very hard for this," the senator said.

Carson said state legislation to establish a New Hampshire infrastructure bank has passed before the Senate and will soon be heading to the House for final vote.

"Hopefully we'll get it passed by June," she said.

Project officials said that once completed, commercial and industrial development along Pettengill Road could bring up to 10,000 new jobs to southern New Hampshire and generate millions of dollars in annual tax revenues.

Earlier this year Federal Express announced plans to build a 300,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center on Industrial Drive, which is within the Pettengill Road area.

aguilmet@newstote.com


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