While originally on the deferred project list for the New Hampshire Ten Year Highway Plan, the I-93 widening projects for Exits 2 and 3 are back in the plan.
The House Public Works Committee placed the projects back into the plan based on events in Washington concerning the Federal Highway Bill. When the Governor’s proposal was being put together, the conventional wisdom coming from Washington was that there would probably be a 33% cut to Federal Highway money given to the states. The New Hampshire Department of Transportation, rather than using optimistic numbers, appropriately decided to use a conservative estimate in their planning.
While this initially left the Exits 2 and 3 off the 10 Year Plan, they were placed at the top of the deferred list, meaning that in the event of more funding, they would be returned first to the Plan.
With the US House plan that sought cuts not moving forward and a US Senate Plan that provided a two year extension at current levels of Federal funding for the states heading for a vote, the NH Public Works Committee amended the 10 Year Plan and added the Exits 2 and 3 projects back. However, the amendment added the caveat that should Federal Funding not be the same as last year, then the Exit 2 and 3 projects would be removed.
The US Senate version of the Federal Highway Bill passed the body today and it is uncertain which direction US House leadership will take on the bill. Current authorization to tax runs out on March 31st, so both bodies must agree to a plan by then.
Luckily here in New Hampshire, the State Senate does not have to vote on a 10 Year Plan until after the Federal Highway Bill has passed, so they will be able to work with concrete Federal Funding figures, rather than projections.