New Hampshire needs Clinton’s infrastructure plan

Around New Hampshire, one need not look long or hard to find evidence of our crumbling infrastructure. According to 2015 data from the federal government, 30 percent of New Hampshire’s bridges are either "structurally deficient" (in poor condition) or "functionally obsolete" (do not meet today’s design standards).

In a May 2016 report, the state Department of Transportation projected that the number of bridges in poor condition will increase over the next several years. And, safety on New Hampshire’s roads is a growing concern. The state has experienced among the highest increases in highway fatalities during the first half of 2016.

Failing infrastructure is hitting our wallets, too. Many observers note that American drivers are paying a hidden "pothole tax," thanks to bad roads across our nation. New Hampshire is no exception. A third of New Hampshire roads have poor pavement, accelerating vehicle deterioration and costing every driver in the state an additional $325 due to increased car maintenance and fuel consumption.

From the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge stuck in the "up" position in Portsmouth to rural roads in desperate need of new pavement, deteriorating infrastructure is a serious problem across the Granite State. Only one candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, has a plan to get New Hampshire – and the nation – back on track.

Clinton has proposed a $275 billion, five-year plan to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure – putting millions of Americans to work, creating more than 43,000 good paying jobs in the Granite State. She’ll work to pass her infrastructure plan in her first 100 days of office, as part of a comprehensive agenda to create the next generation of good-paying jobs and maintain America’s position as the economic superpower of today – and tomorrow.

Clinton would increase accountability and cut red tape, so that taxpayers get more bang for their buck for every dollar they invest in infrastructure. She would provide more funds through merit-based competitive grants, streamline permitting, support multi-modal projects that extend beyond a single type of transportation, build out the project pipeline, and encourage better design and technology.

Government will not solve this crisis alone. Clinton also wants the private sector to play a critical role in fixing our nation’s infrastructure.

As part of the her plan, Clinton has proposed creating a national infrastructure bank that will leverage billions in private-sector dollars to support investment for multi-modal infrastructure projects. The bank can support New Hampshire’s recent law that allows for innovative private-public partnerships to unlock private pools of capital – including pension funds – to complement public investment in America’s infrastructure.

But Hillary Clinton knows that infrastructure is really about moving people and goods, and she is prepared to work with states and stakeholders to ensure that all Americans, regardless of economic status or ability, have affordable and accessible transportation options.

For example, it has been reported that a silver tsunami is coming to New Hampshire – by 2030, 33 percent of New Hampshire residents will be 65 and older. This will pose significant mobility challenges in a state that has inadequate public transportation, leaving seniors with few options to find ways to shop, go to the pharmacy, visit friends, worship and otherwise be active members of their communities.

A Clinton administration will work with New Hampshire officials and local partners to expand public transportation options, such as rail service between Manchester and Boston and support innovative mobility solutions like autonomous vehicles that will enable seniors to fully participate in their communities.

Compare this to the Republican party platform released in July, which calls for cutting all funding for mass transit and other alternative modes from the Highway Trust Fund, which would eliminate federal support for the very transportation options New Hampshire senior citizens need.

Ultimately, Clinton’s investments will transform New Hampshire’s infrastructure to become more resilient, create good-paying jobs, reduce the pothole tax too many of our families face while commuting, and expand the ability for small businesses to export goods.

For many reasons, the stakes are high in this presidential election and the choice is clear. Only Hillary Clinton’s infrastructure plan will help fix New Hampshire’s roads and bridges, create thousands of good-paying jobs for Granite Staters and get our nation’s infrastructure back on track.

Richard Davey is the former Transportation Secretary of Massachusetts.