MANCHESTER — Congressman Chris Pappas, D-N.H., has fought as part of a bipartisan effort to restore $37.8 million in federal highway infrastructure money for the Granite State.
Now he’s working to make sure the state gets its fair share in the next round to be rolled out next year.
If Congress did not act, states were facing a Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act provision that would have rescinded $7.6 billion in federal-aid highway contract authority. This would have left the state unable to do some projects as part of its 10-year plan.
“It was really important that we settled this issue,” Pappas said at Manchester’s public works headquarters on Valley Street Tuesday morning.
The announcement came before what is expected to be the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume in nearly two decades, according to AAA.
The repeal of the provision passed Congress and was signed by President Donald Trump last Thursday.
“It means that things as programmed in our 10-year transportation plan will move forward as expected and designed,” Pappas said. “That’s really important as we think about our role in Washington. It is really helping to create predictability and stability in terms of funding, so that states know how to plan and deal with the backlog of infrastructure projects.”
Pappas, along with Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, signed by 107 House colleagues, that led to the repeal of the FAST Act rescission.
Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig said the money is needed for improvements at I-293 Exit 1, the I-293 Exit 6 and 7 reconfiguration projects, and rehabilitation of the Amoskeag and Queen City bridges.
“Protecting this funding means that these important safety projects can go forward,” she said at a press conference.
Department of Transportation Commissioner Victoria Sheehan said municipal projects would have been hard hit.
“If the rescission had taken effect, it is those projects that matter to communities — our intersection improvements, our sidewalk improvements, our connection to rail trails — that would have been delayed,” she said.
Pappas said Congress is now working on the next transportation bill.
“We are hoping to revisit the formula and make sure we put more of a New Hampshire spin on the federal transportation bill,” he said. “Infrastructure is so important, it’s a bipartisan issue, it’s a way we can continue economic growth, create jobs and strengthen our communities.”