Severe NHDOT Budget Crisis

Severe NHDOT Budget Crisis

Posted in the Brattleboro Forum

Mike Mulligan

Brattleboro, VT

#2 Dec 6, 2013
I got the feeling they are spending $500 dollars of bureaucrat money to save $30 bucks to shut off one bridge light. Like to know what is the KW cost of electricity between Hinsdale, the NHDOT and the ratepayers cost.

It is the same old thing with the weak kneed NH Democrats. We put them in the governorship and give them the house, once they owned everything...and they didn't use their power to contest the ideology of the republican extremist or neutralize them. Can't tell them apart...can't even see them.
Mike Mulligan

Brattleboro, VT

#3 Dec 6, 2013
Republican state senator proposes linking N.H. gas tax hikes to inflation

By BEN LEUBSDORF

Monitor staff

Thursday, December 5, 2013
(Published in print: Friday, December 6, 2013)

A Republican state senator will lead the charge next year for an increase in New Hampshire’s gas tax, which has stood at 18 cents per gallon since 1991.

A bill this year to raise the gas tax by 12 cents, phased in over several years, passed the Democratic-controlled House before being rejected, 18-6, by the GOP-controlled Senate.

But Sen. Jim Rausch, a Derry Republican and chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, has a new proposal that would link future increases in the gas tax to the rate of inflation, starting with a roughly 4-cent hike in 2014.

“I’m doing this because I feel I have an obligation to solve a problem,” Rausch told reporters yesterday.

Rausch’s bill, which he’ll introduce in January when the Legislature returns for 2014, is likely to put him at odds with the many Republican lawmakers who argued vehemently this year against increasing the gas tax – including Senate President Chuck Morse.

Morse, a Salem Republican, said yesterday he doesn’t plan to block Rausch’s bill from being introduced. But that’s about as far as he’ll go.

“I continue to oppose any increase in the gas tax; I believe it hurts the families of New Hampshire who can least afford it and it burdens our businesses trying to make ends meet in a fragile economy,” Morse said in a statement.“I recognize there are senators who may disagree with the sentiment, and I look forward to the discussion next session.”

Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat,“appreciates the constructive ideas put forward by members of both parties ... to invest in critical road and bridge projects,” including Rausch’s bill, said spokesman Marc Goldberg in a statement.

“She will continue to work with both Republicans and Democrats to reach a consensus path forward to address our infrastructure needs and help build a more innovative economic future,” he added.

Linked to inflation

Rausch’s bill would raise New Hampshire’s gas tax in line with inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers in Greater Boston, formally known as the CPI-U for the Boston-Brockton-Nashua area.

In 2014, the increase would reflect CPI change between 2003 and 2013, and going forward, the rate would be automatically adjusted every four years starting in 2018.
Mike Mulligan

Brattleboro, VT

#4 Dec 6, 2013
“This was my effort to solve a problem that was logical, and it’s based on trying to restore purchasing power that has eroded since the last tax increase in 1991,” Rausch said.“And rather than just pick a number out of the air, I wanted to do it based on ... the Consumer Price Index, how the dollar has eroded.”

Three states – Florida, Massachusetts and Maryland – have laws linking their gas tax rates to inflation, and a dozen other states have variable-rate taxes based on other measures such as the price of fuel, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.(Massachusetts’s inflation indexing law, passed this summer, takes effect Jan. 1, 2015.)

Final CPI numbers aren’t yet available for 2013, but Rausch estimated the 2014 increase would come in at a little above 4 cents, and that future increases would be “a penny or less” based on the current inflation trend.

He said each 1-cent increase means roughly $7 million more a year for the Department of Transportation, which has said it desperately needs more funding to maintain a deteriorating statewide network of roads and bridges and continue big-ticket capital projects such as the widening of Interstate 93 in southern New Hampshire.

Co-sponsoring Rausch’s bill is Rep. David Campbell, a Nashua Democrat and chairman of the House Public Works and Highways Committee, who led this year’s effort to raise the gas tax.

“The money is desperately needed in order to fix our roads and bridges and invest in our transportation infrastructure,” Campbell said.

Despite years of legislative debate over finding more money for the DOT, he said, the state’s transportation network has continued to deteriorate.

“I think we’re now almost in a catastrophic situation,” Campbell said.

Starting in the Senate

Campbell’s bill this year would have increased the gas tax by 12 cents, to 30 cents per gallon, over three years for gasoline and six years for diesel fuel. It passed the House, 206-158, in March, but it went down in the Senate in May, with five out of 11 Democrats and all 13 Republicans voting to kill it.

At the time, Rausch pledged that the debate over transportation funding would continue, and he said on the floor he would vote against the bill “only because I have assurances that next year, not next session but next year, we can have legislation that is different but pertinent to the resolution and solutions of our infrastructure needs.”

Campbell said he was happy to back Rausch’s bill this time around.

“It has to get through the Senate,” Campbell said,“so that’s a good place for it to start.”

Rausch said he hoped his approach can win support in the Republican-majority Senate, despite this year’s lopsided vote and the upcoming November election.

“I am acutely aware that there are individuals that will have some difficulty because it’s an election year. I am not going to try and put anyone in harm’s way,” Rausch said.“I’m going to let each and every senator decide on their own whether or not they are comfortable supporting this.”

This year’s Senate vote came just a day after the House voted down a Senate bill to allow a single casino in the state. Rausch said yesterday he still supports expanded gambling as a source of revenue for the state, including DOT projects.

“I view this as a component of two things that are necessary, and certainly having a nontax source, such as gaming, I believe is also very, very important,” he said.
Mike Mulligan

Brattleboro, VT

#5 Dec 6, 2013
The rub is, if these guys were current with events...there has been recent huge declines in the price of gasoline and plenty more of that in the next few years.
The consumers would never even see this tax increase...

Campbell’s bill this year would have increased the gas tax by 12 cents, to 30 cents per gallon, over three years for gasoline and six years for diesel fuel. It passed the House, 206-158, in March, but it went down in the Senate in May, with five out of 11 Democrats and all 13 Republicans voting to kill it.
Mike Mulligan

Brattleboro, VT

#6 Dec 6, 2013
"Campbell’s bill this year would have increased the gas tax by 12 cents, to 30 cents per gallon, over three years for gasoline and six years for diesel fuel. It passed the House, 206-158, in March, but it went down in the Senate in May, with five out of 11 Democrats and all 13 Republicans voting to kill it."

The democrats want an increase in gas tax and the republicans want gambling to support all of government.

These are just the political class excuses not to want progress...

The status quo is only the safe thing...so drum up excuses so nothing gets passed in Concord...

I see nothing that will change this system in NH for decades....

Those five dems are democrats in name only...

The system is set up to veto everything!
Mike Mulligan

Brattleboro, VT

#7 Dec 6, 2013
This is a classic weak kneed Mexican Standoff looking for power. Heck, maybe, it is better I never to have real power, just wound you adversaries from the bushes so nobody can govern!

Really, this whole thing with our political system, is it not a fight for power...it is fight to neutralize everyone.
Mike Mulligan

Brattleboro, VT

#8 Dec 6, 2013
The new 10 year plan:

Sewell Falls Bridge – A new bridge is funded in the first year of the plan and scheduled for completion by 2016.
Mike Mulligan

Brattleboro, VT

#9 Dec 6, 2013
*** SELECT 10YR PLAN PROJECTS: Monadnock Region & Western NH ***

Hinsdale Bridge Replacement – Added back into the plan, for preliminary engineering work beginning in 2016 and construction in 2021-2022.

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