Kuster takes tour to tout transportation funding bill
Congresswoman Annie Kuster visited the Route 10 bridge replacement project in Winchester Tuesday morning to talk about a bill to fund federal highway project through the fiscal year. (MEGHAN PIERCE/Union Leader Correspondent)
Federal highway funds that provide the majority of the costs for such projects are set to run out in July.
The $3.9 million bridge replacement project has 80 percent of its funding from the Highway Trust Fund, according to state Department of Transportation officials.
The new bridge is being built alongside the old bridge it is replacing.
Kuster marveled at the number of large vehicles, from tractor trailers to logging trucks, that traveled over the old bridge in just the short time she visited the project site.
“This is just-in-time construction,” DOT official Ted Kitsis told Kuster.
While this project is covered by federal funds, DOT is delaying the bid process for $25 million in planned projects because there are not federal funds to help pay for them, said William J. Cass, NHDOT director of project development.
The bill proposes to raise $10 billion by eliminating a costly and duplicative catfish inspection program, by consolidating federal data centers and by forcing federal agencies to close long-empty bank accounts.
“As people drive more fuel-efficient cars — which is a good thing for the climate, for the environment, for the globe — there’s less tax dollars coming into the highway trust fund. This is an example of where we are behind the curve and where there is a safety issue,” Kuster said.
“Then Congress needs to address what the long-term solution is for this,” she said.
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