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The 10 Year Highway Plan now ready for legislative process

To The Daily Sun,

On Wednesday Dec. 16, the Governor's Advisory Commission on Intermodal Transportation (GACIT) submitted its Ten Year Transportation Improvement Plan (Ten Year Plan) to the governor for the State of New Hampshire.

The members of the commission included the Executive Council and the commissioner of Transportation, who serves as a non-voting member. The process began in July when Department of Transportation (DOT) and nine Regional Planning Commissions finalized a draft based on preservation, maintenance and safety of the pavement and bridge infrastructure throughout the state.

The Ten Year Highway Plan aggressively addressed financial constraint, assuming federal funding of about $160 million per year, with continued reliance on turnpike toll credits in lieu of state hard match to the federal program. The draft plan addressed the highest priorities developed by each Regional Planning Commission. The result was a financially constrained document identifying the needs that best align with the priorities of communities, the Regional Planning Commissions and DOT.

GACIT held 16 public hearings throughout the state between September and October to receive input from the public on the draft and transportation funding issues the state is facing. In Executive Council District 1, there were six hearings, in Conway, Berlin, Wakefield, Laconia, Plymouth and Lebanon.

The themes that were heard most often included: preservation and maintenance efforts to safeguard and improve infrastructure conditions of all roads, especially secondary and unnumbered state roads, recognizing that the transportation needs of our older population in New Hampshire are changing, that millennials are also very interested in transportation options that do not include the use of vehicles, and the support of transit and safety funding through the CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality) program and HSIP (Highway Safety Improvement Program).

On Nov. 30, GACIT met to finalize the recommendations made throughout the process to include six priority changes (see the complete list at https://www.nh.gov/dot/org/projectdevelopment/planning/typ/documents/GACITAdoptedtoGov121615.pdf) of which one included the use of GARVEE bonds to advance and complete bridge improvement of I-89 bridges over the Connecticut River in Lebanon.

GACIT made the following additions in Executive Council District 1: 1. $2.25 million in construction funding for U.S. 4 (Mechanic Street) improvements in Lebanon; 2. include funding to complete improvements to the U.S. 2 corridor in Jefferson and Randolph; 3. re-scope an existing funded Center Harbor-New Hampton bridge project to be a bridge rehabilitation project. Construction is currently scheduled in FY 2021; and 4. advance improvements to U.S. 3 in Colebrook to FY 2020 (previously 2023), allowing a local water and sewer infrastructure improvement project, roadway resurfacing and sidewalk improvements to all occur at the same time.

On Nov. 30, the U.S. Congress passed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which provides increased federal funding to the states for a five-year period. GACIT recommended to use any supplementary funding for red listed bridges and to continue to improve pavement conditions across the state. However, the GACIT refers to the governor and Legislature on how best to use these additional funds.

The Ten Highway Plan is now in the hands of the governor and in January it will go through the legislative process as a comprehensive bill and then the final plan will be passed and signed into law in June 2016.

Joseph D. Kenney

Executive Councilor District 1

Wakefield

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We can't take a chance on industries that could pollute our aquifer

To The Daily Sun,

It is Saturday, Jan. 2, and I am writing this letter to wish you all a Happy New Year. It is a new year so let's start it with protecting our aquifer. A number of people including myself, submitted a petition to the Town of Belmont to disallow additional industrial development above our water supply.

We the people of Belmont are fortunate to have a stratified drift aquifer created thousands of years ago by the glaciers. This aquifer is shallow to the surface of the ground and travels very slowly through a thick layer of sand and gravel flowing toward the Winnipesauke River (shallow means +/­- 20 feet).

The towns of Tilton and Northfield also benefit from this natural resource.

The fact that the aquifer is shallow to the surface makes our water supply vulnerable to pollution.

The Belmont Planning Board has approved a garbage transfer station which has been given the authority to haul a maximum of 3,000 tons of garbage a week or approximately 150,000 tons a year. My concern is that since the aquifer is shallow to the ground surface it would not take much to contaminate our water supply.

Since we are pumping an average 800,000 gallons per day for all three towns, where are we going to find another equivalent source of water supply? Belmont would have the financial responsibility to correct the problem it created, of course that has not happened yet but it will happen in the future.

The financial ramifications of polluting the aquifer would be devastating to the town of Belmont. It would require the immediate expenditure of millions of dollars to correct the problem which could force the town of Belmont into bankruptcy. We, the taxpayers, would all be subject to the consequences.

The primary solution to this very serious problem is not to allow any type of industry that has potential to pollute the aquifer. That is why the people of this town submitted a petition not to allow any future industrial development on top of our aquifer. The future growth of our town and its people will depend on a healthy source of clean water.

On Jan. 6, at 5 p.m. at the Belmont Corner Meeting House, the Planning Board will hold a public meeting to discuss the petition to protect the aquifer I implore all of you to be there, do not let someone else speak in your behalf. I am at the sunset of my life and I want to share with you my experience of a life time this is my home and I want to protect what is best for my family and my fellow townspeople.

George Condometraky

Belmont

 

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