State Rep. Mike Edgar
Infrastructure. What is it and why is it important?
Infrastructure includes things like our roads and bridges, public transportation, public utilities (energy, drinking water and wastewater treatment), public buildings and recreational facilities. It includes the things we often take for granted but which enable us (citizens and businesses alike) to live safely, prosper and enjoy our beautiful state. It is a basic function of our state government to ensure that this “backbone” of our state is in not only in place but first class in nature.
I have had the privilege of representing Hampton as one of your New Hampshire state representatives for the past seven years. For most of that time, I have served on the Public Works and Highways Committee.
Every two years the governor submits his Capital Budget and Ten-Year Transportation Improvement Plan to the Legislature. It is the responsibility of my colleagues and I on the Public Works and Highways Committee to make a recommendation to the full House of Representatives on what parts of those programs to adopt.
The Capital Budget contains the “brick and mortar” requests to build or maintain new buildings or other items including dams, parking lots and utilities proposed or requested by state agencies and departments; virtually anything the state must build and maintain except for roads (including our Turnpike), bridges, rail, airports, and other transportation items.
Those items are included in the Ten-Year Transportation Improvement Plan which is developed by the Regional Planning Commissions and the Department of Transportation, coordinated by the Executive Council, and reviewed and amended every two years as needed.
Over the years, Hampton has been very fortunate to receive our fair share of state dollars to improve our infrastructure. I have made it one of my priorities and I have been very lucky to have been able to work very closely with former Representative Renny Cushing, former state senator Nancy Stiles and our current state Senator (and candidate for governor) Dr. Tom Sherman. Together we have contributed to delivering the following improvements for Hampton:
– Hampton Circuit District Courthouse which was completed and dedicated in 2019.
– Seabrook-Hampton Bridge replacement which will start construction in 2023.
– Ocean Boulevard reconstruction from the Hampton Bridge to High Street. The first portion is funded for construction and final design. We need funding for the balance of Ocean Boulevard!
– Rail Trails from the Massachusetts border up to Portsmouth are in some stage of planning or construction. The portion from Hampton center to Portsmouth will start construction soon.
– Several other projects in the Ten-Year Transportation Improvement Plan including several intersections and some bridge work.
Looking forward there are two critical issues that we need to continue to focus on:
– Facing the challenges to our state posed by climate change and effectively instituting policies and resiliency programs to mitigate the effects of our changing climate; and
– Making sure we continue to have access to safe, clean drinking water.
Maintaining and improving our infrastructure is a priority we should all be able to agree on. Members of the Public Works and Highways Committee work together very well to support and advance well thought out Capital Budgets and Ten-Year Transportation Improvement Plans.
There are a few contentious issues between the Democrats and most Republicans in the committee and the House. One is the extension of Commuter Rail from the Massachusetts border to Manchester. Democrats generally are in favor and Republicans generally against. The engineering and cost analysis are being performed and a decision soon will be made after a review of the cost analysis. If the cost analysis is favorable, we will need all the Democrats we can get to vote to approve a project that could help stimulate and improve the New Hampshire economy.
Another issue that is developing is the introduction of charging stations for electric cars. I hope there is an open discussion on how we are going to proceed installing charging stations throughout the state. We need them for our tourist industry.
I will continue to fight for our future and for Hampton as a member of the House of Representatives on the Public Works and Highways Committee and I know my Democratic colleagues in the House now and those running for office this fall will join me in that fight.
Please remember that when you go to vote this fall.
Mike Edgar has represented Hampton in the New Hampshire House of Representatives since 2016. He is a candidate for re-election this fall.