$200 million in federal infrastructure spending OKd by NH Senate

Roads, bridges, broadband funding plan now goes to the House

The NH Senate endorsed spending more than $200 million of infrastructure spending Thursday – most, but not all of it, coming from the federal government.

The biggest chunk – $122 million – would go toward a broadband matching grant fund, and is primarily using American Rescue Plan Act money. That’s up from $35 million, so the Senate decided to up the 50-50 match as well, chipping in 75 percent to the 25 percent put up by the political subdivision (county, city, town, school district), the broadband provider or communications district.

Then, thanks to Senate Bill 401, $77 million would go to towns and cities, for roads and bridges and $1 million for State Police dashboard and body cameras. That would come from the general fund in additional to highway funds.

The state is able to do this, argued senators, because of the increased revenue it is receiving from various taxes, including the business profits tax.

SB 401 was supposed to raise reimbursements for hospital birthing centers, but that has been moved to SB 430, a health and human services omnibus bill with 23 different provisions.

The Senate also passed SB 447, to build electric vehicle infrastructure. The bill doesn’t appropriate any money per se, but it does outline how to spend the $17 million the state has already received from the federal government, including any more money coming down the pike.

The funds would go to state agencies, major corridors and downtowns, explained Sen. David Watters, D-Dover.

Although the Finance Committee was split in a 3-2 recommendation, the Senate passed the bill to the House on a voice vote.

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