By Christian Wade | The Center Square
New Hampshire stands to get a windfall of federal funding to help fix crumbling highways and bridges, improve public transit and expand broadband access.
On Saturday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill in a 228-206 vote, sending it to President Joe Biden for his signature.
New Hampshire stands to get more than $2.05 billion from the spending bill over the next five years, including at least $1.1 billion for highway upgrades and $225 million for bridge repairs, according to a breakdown provided by the White House.
The state will also receive at least $418 million to improve water and sewer infrastructure and at least $100 million to help provide broadband coverage.
Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H., said the plan “represents an historic investment in our infrastructure that will address critical needs and create millions of jobs across the country.”
“Investments in our roads and bridges, water systems, and broadband are critical to our future economic growth and way of life in New Hampshire, and they will help us continue to rebuild our economy and regain our competitiveness following the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pappas said in a statement.
“These are not Democratic or Republican priorities, they are bipartisan, common-sense solutions of local and national significance,” he added.
A fact sheet released by the White House ahead of the bill’s passage laid out the state’s vast infrastructure needs.
Topping the list are New Hampshire’s aging roads and bridges, many of which are in disrepair, according to the White House. The Biden administration said there are at least 250 bridges and nearly 700 miles of highway in poor condition.
The White House statement pointed out that commuting times in New Hampshire have increased by 5.9% annually. The average New Hampshire driver spends $476 a year in auto repair costs, according to the statement.
“For decades, infrastructure in New Hampshire has suffered from a systemic lack of investment,” the statement reads. “The need for action is clear.”
Passage of the infrastructure bill caps months of debate on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have failed for years to pass a major legislation to upgrade transportation, water and sewer upgrades and other critical infrastructure needs.
The bill passed with bipartisan support with 13 Republicans supporting it and six Democrats voting against it.
“The historic nature of this bipartisan infrastructure deal cannot be overstated,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said in a statement. “This is the largest investment in public transit; the largest investment in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure; the largest investment in clean energy and the largest investment in our bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system.”