State agency requests total more than revenuesUnion Leader State House Bureau
June 16. 2014 8:34PM
Gov. Maggie Hassan opened two days of hearings on the state's capital budget on Monday, saying new buildings get a lot of attention, but dealing with the state's basic infrastructure needs is equally important.
State agencies have submitted 150 projects, valued at $227 million in general funds. Lawmakers last year approved $125 million for the current two-year capital budget.
“While agencies were much more conservative in their requests than in the past, these requests still total much more than we have to spend,” Hassan said. “We will have to work together over the next year to rigorously vet these requests and to pare down this list to ensure we continue to use taxpayer dollars as judiciously as possible.”
The capital budget is the state’s road-map for long-term investments. A new women’s prison and upgrades to the state’s information technology were among the investments approved in the current capital budget. Lawmakers have until June 2015 to settle on the next two-year plan.
“While new buildings may garner headlines, we must make sure we are repairing the roofs, updating the plumbing and electricity, making buildings more energy efficient, and doing the other critical maintenance that keeps buildings operating. Taking care of this maintenance today will save us money in the future,” Hassan said.
The first agency presenting requests on Monday was the University System of New Hampshire System, which is seeking $38 million to expand programs in science, technology, engineering and math through upgrades to five science buildings. UNH would invest an additional $12 million for a total of $50 million in construction projects that would start in 2015 and be scheduled for completion in 2017.
Other requests include $14.8 million for a new Merrimack County Superior Courthouse in Concord, and money for improvements at state parks.