Letters to the Editor

Reconstructing the highway amendment

To the editor:

I read your editorial in the July 21 New Hampshire Business Review (“The constitutional amendment we really need”) and thought about how such an amendment might be worded to attract as broad a base of support as possible.

The highway industry and advocates need to be assured that there will be a dedicated flow of funds to maintain the roadways. Further, the Legislature needs to control the allocation of any funds among competing vital interests, such as bridge repair and replacement and aid to local road systems. Finally, the “stakeholders” for increased highway fund revenue must be broadened in order to simply raise enough revenue to (a) maintain and repair current road and bridge systems; (b) implement plans such as the 10-year highway plan and I-93 widening; and, (c) undertake the support of all forms of intra/interstate public transit. The last having taken on even greater importance because of factors such as the now-irrefutable “greenhouse effect” and the price of gasoline. How’s this for a start?

“[Art.] 6-a. [Use of Certain Revenues Restricted to Highways] All revenue in excess of the necessary cost of collection and administration accruing to the state from the level or amount of registration fees, operators’ licenses, gasoline road tolls or any other special charges or taxes with respect to the operation of motor vehicles or the sale or consumption of motor vehicle fuels imposed as of June 30, 2009 shall be appropriated and used exclusively for the construction, reconstruction and maintenance of public highways within this state, including the supervision of traffic thereon and payment of the interest and principal of obligations incurred for said purposes; and no part of such revenues shall, by transfer of funds or otherwise, be diverted to any other purpose whatsoever. The revenue from any increase in such fees, tolls, charges or taxes imposed as of June 30, 2009 may be allocated by the general court for any public highway or public transportation purpose, including the construction, maintenance, purchase, lease or operation of surface mass transportation system facilities and equipment serving New Hampshire residents.”

John B. Andrews
Executive Director
N.H. Local Government Center

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