Civil engineers: NH infrastructure gets a C-

Apr 06, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

A new report from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave New Hampshire infrastructure a C- grade. 

A committee of civil and environmental engineers from New Hampshire considered twelve areas of infrastructure, from wastewater to roads to energy.  New Hampshire did not score above a C+ in any category.

The report states that over the next ten years roughly $860 million is needed to update drinking water infrastructure, and $1 billion is needed to maintain and repair roads.

As an overall solution to improving New Hampshire’s infrastructure, the report recommends a long-term, sustainable, state funding source for infrastructure maintenance and improvements.

While New Hampshire raised the gas tax in 2014 to pay for transportation infrastructure improvements, increased fuel efficiency and alternative fuel vehicles are making the gas tax a less consistent source of funding for roads.  The state Legislature has rejected proposals to set up a registration fee for all vehicles based on miles per gallon.  Opponents argue that gas tax dollars should be spent more wisely.

Similarly, the state does not have a dedicated, consistent funding source for water infrastructure.  The Department of Environmental Services has a grant program for local drinking and wastewater projects, but ever since a moratorium on funding in 2008, grants have been inconsistent and often below what is needed.

Gov. Chris Sununu has proposed, and the Senate has approved, a plan to send a budget surplus to local road and bridge projects this year.  Funding for water infrastructure is waiting on the next budget, which is still being revised by the House of Representatives.

Of course, New Hampshire could be doing worse on infrastructure.  ASCE graded the United States overall with a D+.  While the state-by-state reports are not yet complete, so far no state has scored above a C+.

How would you grade New Hampshire’s infrastructure?  Share your opinion in the comments below.

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