TRIP: Show N.H. the money to fix failing bridges, roads
One-third of New Hampshire’ major roads are deteriorated, 32 percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and more than half of the state’s roads are congested during peak travel times, but the state lacks adequate funding to make needed improvements to its surface transportation system, according to a news report from the Washington, D.C.-based national transportation organization TRIP.
TRIP’s report, “Moving New Hampshire Forward: The Condition and Funding of New Hampshire’s Roads, Bridges and Transit Systems,” finds that increased investment in the state’s transportation infrastructure could improve road and bridge conditions, enhance safety and support long-term economic growth in the state.
The report finds that 12 percent of the state’s major roadways are in poor condition and an additional 21 percent are in mediocre condition. Roads in need of repair cost each New Hampshire motorist an average of $259annually in extra vehicle operating costs – $267 million statewide – including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
The TRIP report includes a list of sections of roadway throughout the state that are in need of reconstruction or pavement preservation work that can not be completed due to a lack of transportation funds. These include improvements to several sections of I-93 and I-89, as well as NH 12 and NH 16.
“New Hampshire built one of the finest highway systems in the country with our Federal Highway Administration partners.
As our state continues to take proper care of the system, meet our bridge repair needs, and build the new capacity for I-93, we need that funding partner more than ever. Today’s TRIP report documents the challenges,” said George Campbell, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. “Transportation is the backbone of the American and New Hampshire economies, and deferring addressing these urgent needs will result in significantly higher expenses for the next generation. At the NHDOT we all call on Congress to act and reauthorize the federal transportation legislation.”
In addition to deteriorated road conditions, 16 percent of New Hampshire’s bridges are structurally deficient and an additional 16 percent are functionally obsolete. The state’s roads are also becoming increasingly crowded, as commuting and commerce are constrained by growing traffic congestion on New Hampshire’ major urban roads.
In 2008, 51 percent of the state’s urban highways were congested during peak travel times. The TRIP report contains a list of needed transportation projects throughout the state that would repair and replace deficient bridges, increase roadway capacity and improve the state’s transit system. However, these projects can not move forward without additional transportation funding.
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