Congressman Pappas, NHDOT Commissioner Sheehan, Mayor Craig Discuss Bipartisan Effort to Protect NH Highway Funding
MANCHESTER, NH - Today in Manchester, Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) was joined by New Hampshire Department of Transportation Commissioner Victoria Sheehan, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, and other transportation officials and stakeholders to discuss the bipartisan effort he led in the House to protect nearly $40 million in federal highway infrastructure funding from being rescinded from New Hampshire.
Earlier this month, Congressman Pappas and Congressman Don Young (R-AK) sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, signed by 107 House colleagues, that lead to the repeal of the FAST Act rescission. This repeal, included in the Continuing Resolution signed by President Trump on Thursday, protected states from a $7.6 billion loss in highway funding, including $37.8 million in New Hampshire. This amounts to 20 percent of the state’s annual infrastructure funding that could have been lost.
“Federal-state partnerships play a critical role in maintaining and rebuilding our infrastructure,” said Congressman Chris Pappas. “Immediate action was necessary to safeguard these funds. I am proud to see that our bipartisan effort encouraged leaders to work together to ensure states like New Hampshire get the resources that were allocated to rebuild our nation and support good jobs. From city blocks to state highways, the loss of these funds would have been felt throughout our state and economy. I’m committed to working with Republicans and Democrats, as well as our local and state leaders, to continue to invest in modern infrastructure to support our future needs.”
“Ensuing that New Hampshire will still receive nearly $40 million in transportation funding is critical to projects in and around Manchester,” said Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig. “If this funding had been taken away, vital work on the I-293 Exit 6 and 7 reconfiguration projects, rehabilitation of the Amoskeag and Queen City bridges, improvements at I-293 Exit 1 and so many more would have been delayed or not have been able to be completed. Protecting this funding means that these important safety projects can go forward. As millions of Americans get ready to travel for Thanksgiving week, I want to reiterate my thanks to Congressman Pappas and all who advocated to ensure that New Hampshire received this funding that supports our residents, businesses, and visitors.”
“The repeal of this rescission is something that we as a Department, our Governor, and our delegation have been advocating for and we are extremely appreciative that Congressman Pappas was able to work with his colleagues to make this repeal a reality so that we don’t lose that vital federal funding to advance projects that are important to our communities,” said New Hampshire Department of Transportation Commissioner Victoria Sheehan. “At risk specifically were many of our municipal projects. 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. So we are extremely pleased to see this rescission repeal supported by the Congress and the Department is now ready to work to make sure that those dollars go to the projects that truly matter to those local regions.”
Section 1438 of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act would have rescinded $7.6 billion in unobligated federal-aid highway contract authority on July 1, 2020. This provision was included as a budget offset in the last highway bill, although some have characterized it as a gimmick, the real-world impacts on states’ budgets are drastic. Congressmen Pappas and Young wrote to House leadership to request that they address the upcoming rescission of $7.6 billion from the last highway bill as soon as possible.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, states have approximately $5.4 billion in unobligated contract authority. The funding rescission would have removed all of this authority with the shortfall coming out of next year’s amounts. Across the board, states like New Hampshire would have lost precious dollars needed for investment in infrastructure projects. Every state would have lost millions in contract authority, with 37 states losing over $50 million. New Hampshire stood to lose nearly $40 million.
AAA projects that this year will see the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume in nearly two decades, underscoring the need for strong federal investment in our highways and why Congressman Pappas has been fighting to secure every available dollar for New Hampshire.
Text of Pappas/Young Letter to House leadership:https://pappas.house.gov/sites/pappas.house.gov/files/LTR_HighwayRescission10-15-2019FinalText.pdf
Announcement of letter sent to House leadership: https://pappas.house.gov/media/press-releases/rep-pappas-helps-prevent-loss-76-billion-highway-funding-states
House votes on CR including Pappas-led rescission repeal:https://pappas.house.gov/media/press-releases/pappas-and-young-lead-bipartisan-letter-protect-states-loss-76-billion-highway