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Shaheen’s SAFE Bridges Act would encourage repair of New Hampshire bridges rated structurally deficient

(Hampton, NH) – This morning, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) met with representatives from the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT), the Hampton Fire Chief and the Rockingham Planning Commission at the Hampton-Seabrook Bridge. Shaheen called for continued infrastructure investments to improve public safety and economic competiveness and support tourism, one of New Hampshire’s largest industries. Shaheen specifically highlighted her legislation, the Strengthen and Fortify Existing Bridges Act of 2014 (SAFE Bridges Act), which would provide $5.5 billion to repair and replace aging and deteriorating bridges such as the Hampton-Seabrook Bridge, which is on the state of New Hampshire’s Red List.

“Tourism season is a reminder of why our crumbling infrastructure and lack of investments in upgrades are hurting our economy and putting public safety at risk,” Shaheen said. “One third of New Hampshire bridges are either structurally deficient or are considered functionally obsolete, which is why we need to move on bills like my SAFE Bridges Act that would reestablish a program to provide funding specifically to repair and replace aging and deteriorating bridges. That investment in our infrastructure will both create jobs and support our tourism and travel industry.”

One-third of bridges in New Hampshire are classified as either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and more than 2 million people travel across them on an average day. Nationally, 11 percent of the 607,000 bridges in the U.S. were classified as structurally deficient in 2012. It is estimated that Shaheen’s SAFE Bridges Act would reduce the backlog by as much as 80 percent in 20 years.

Shaheen has been vocal about the need to address infrastructure deficiencies in New Hampshire and around the country to address public safety concerns and maintain economic competitiveness. Yesterday, she met with state officials at the I-93 expansion project to discuss the need to replenish the Highway Trust Fund so that important projects are not delayed due to funding gaps. She has repeatedly called for the replacement of the Sewalls Falls Bridge in Concord and worked with the New Hampshire and Maine congressional delegations to obtain funding for the replacement of the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth. She has also fought against cuts to the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Return (TIGER) program that encourages economic activity and jobs in New Hampshire through important infrastructure investments.