Kuster pushes for highway funding during Nashua tour
NASHUA – Using a delayed Nashua infrastructure project as a backdrop, U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster called upon her colleagues on Capitol Hill to support a long-term extension to a transportation bill.
Kuster, D-N.H., appeared Wednesday in Nashua to tour the Broad Street Parkway construction site on a humid afternoon and reviewed the progress made to the $80 million project. She used the visit to highlight the importance of federal funding for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to complete infrastructure projects that otherwise may come to a grinding halt.
“Not only is this important to obviously to the future of the city of Nashua, but this whole concept of infrastructure I think is really critical,” she said at the project’s Baldwin Street headquarters. “Regretfully, the Congress passed a two-month extension last week, which is not going to get us to where we need to be.”
Three years ago, Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act to fund transportation projects for two years. It was extended one year beyond its original 2014 expiration and again for an additional two months.
It is set to expire at the end of July, leading to a depletion of the Highway Trust Fund and the possibility of a shortage of federal money in the middle of summer, the busiest construction season in New Hampshire that brings needed dollars into the state through on-site jobs and better roadways for local commuters as well as tourists.
“What I love about infrastructure jobs is you can’t ship them overseas,” Kuster said. “This doesn’t need to be a partisan issue at all, everybody can come together and care about building out infrastructure for our economy and for jobs and for quality of life.”
While the congresswoman said the Broad Street project need not worry about its funding if Congress does not pass a long-term highway bill, other similar infrastructure projects in the state could be at risk. She recommended a long-term strategy at the federal level to reliably inform contractors about the availability of funding.
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