Kuster Discusses How Her New Transportation Funding Bill Could Save Summer Transportation Projects During Tour of Route 10 Bridge Replacement Project in Winchester
WINCHESTER, NH – This morning, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) toured the Route 10 bridge replacement project near the Winchester-Swanzey town line, where she discussed her new bill to support continued federal investment in our roads and bridges. State transportation officials led Congresswoman Kuster on the tour, and she was joined by other local leaders and planners to discuss the importance of continued funding for transportation infrastructure in New Hampshire and across the country.
Last month, Congresswoman Kuster introduced H.R. 4601, the DRIVE Now Act, which would ensure that the Highway Trust Fund remains solvent for the remainder of the fiscal year. The Trust Fund, which provides crucial funding to states for transportation and infrastructure projects like the Winchester-Swanzey bridge project, is expected to drop below a critical funding threshold in July. This could bring transportation projects to a halt this summer in New Hampshire and around the country, and put construction jobs in jeopardy. Kuster’s DRIVE Now Act (Deficit Reduction for Infrastructure, Value, and Efficiency Now Act) provides a fully-offset $5 billion dollar payment to the Highway Trust fund, which would prevent it from running dry and ensure our summer construction projects can continue.
“As we head into the busy summer construction months, it’s more important than ever to protect the federal funding needed to complete vital infrastructure projects like the one we saw here today, the Winchester-Swanzey bridge replacement,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “Not only will projects like this protect Granite Staters from the safety hazards that come along with unstable infrastructure, it will also provide construction jobs for our workers. I call on Congress to immediately pass my DRIVE Now Act, which would replenish the Highway Trust Fund so that projects like this one won’t be forced to come to a halt right in the middle of the summer construction season.”
The DRIVE Now Act would make a one-time payment of $5 billion to the Highway Trust Fund to pay for transportation projects for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2014, which ends September 30, 2014. At the same time, the bill would reduce the deficit by taking common sense steps to eliminate a costly and duplicative catfish inspection program, consolidate federal data centers, and force agencies to close long-empty bank accounts. These combined actions would reduce spending by more than $10 billion, offsetting the $5 billion payment for the Highway Trust Fund, and further reducing the nation’s deficit.
The Route 10 bridge, which crosses the Ashuelot River, is included on the state’s “red list” of structurally deficient bridges. Construction of the new bridge, which will sit just west of the current structure, began in December and is expected to continue through July 2015. The project is projected to cost about $3.9 million, with federal funding from the Highway Trust Fund covering 80 percent of the cost, and the remaining 20 percent coming from state funding. Without a solution to the Highway Trust Fund’s funding deficiency, projects like the Route 10 bridge replacement could be in jeopardy – and during today’s tour, Kuster called on Congress to immediately pass her DRIVE Now Act to save this project and others like it.
Congresswoman Annie Kuster is a strong proponent of fixing our state’s roads and bridges in order to protect the safety of Granite State residents, ease congestion, and create construction jobs for our workers. Prior to introducing her DRIVE Now Act, Kuster called on House Leadership to work together to provide additional funding for the Highway Trust Fund. She has also toured the I-93 construction project in Windham, another crucial construction project that could come to a halt without passage of the DRIVE Now Act or other legislation to save the Highway Trust Fund.