ICYMI: NH Delegation Announces $19M in Federal Funds for Berlin Infrastructure Project

August 09, 2022

(Berlin, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) – a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee – and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) announced that the City of Berlin will receive $19,534,391 from the U.S. Department of Transportation to implement an innovative project that connects two emerging industries – renewable power generation and tourism – in New Hampshire’s northernmost city and positions them and the region for continued growth and development.

Specifically, the City of Berlin would resolve its issues with winter snowfall and spring clean-up by constructing a street and sidewalk snow melting system. It would utilize a nearby renewable fuel-powered electrical generation plant that produces enough available waste heat to satisfy the energy demands of this proposed system. Downtown infrastructure improvements are a crucial part of the City’s plan to take advantage of winter tourism opportunities, and this project will advance efforts to that end.

“This is a game changer for Berlin and a boon to North Country communities, many of which will benefit from the regional impact of this innovative project. I want to commend Berlin officials for their diligent work and advocacy to make this a reality and their successful efforts to reinvent Berlin’s local economy by responding to challenges head on,” said Senator Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “As the paper industry declined over the years, strong local leadership helped spur inventive concepts like this, which we’ll soon see in action. This sidewalk melting system is a testament to the important downtown infrastructure improvements that we can make in our cities and towns, and I’m excited to see Berlin doing just that. I was thrilled to advocate for this grant and I look forward to seeing these federal resources make their way to Berlin so this project can move ahead.”

“This is a vital grant that will help Berlin thrive, and it’s really great that the city is receiving this award which will help fuel the region’s local economy,” said Senator Hassan. “The street and sidewalk snow melting system is critical for Berlin’s tourism industry, and it’s exciting that it will be powered by green, renewable energy, which is better in the long run for our communities and our economy. This grant is an important development for Berlin, and I will keep working to help working to secure federal funding for our North Country communities.”

“This federal grant will allow Berlin to revitalize its downtown infrastructure and make transformational, innovative changes to the city’s main streets,” said Representative Kuster. “I am committed to pushing for projects to spur economic development and foster vibrant communities in the North Country and throughout New Hampshire. I look forward to seeing this cost saving system in action in Berlin and I will continue advocating for New Hampshire initiatives and funding to bolster our economy and improve the lives of Granite Staters.”

“These federal funds from the RAISE grant program will support our tourism economy, spur economic growth, and improve quality of life not just in Berlin, but across the region,” said Representative Pappas. “By making smart investments in our infrastructure and our communities, we can build a better future for generations to come. I fought hard to pass the bipartisan infrastructure law to support projects like this one, and I’ll keep fighting for continued investments that will support future economic growth.”

“On behalf of all the residents of Berlin, and particularly the businesses along the Main Street/Pleasant Street corridors, I want to thank Senators Shaheen and Hassan as well as Congresswoman Kuster and Congressman Pappas for their hard work and advocacy on our behalf. This will completely change the landscape to the entrance to our great city. Not only will we have snow and ice free streets and sidewalks, but because of the total reconstruction of the grant area, we will have total reconstruction of those public ways. There is a concrete "bridge" on lower Main Street that needs to be replaced and as a result of this grant, Berlin will fund much less for the total project once complete than replacement of the bridge alone. I am beyond elated for our community and this project will allow us to focus resources on other badly needed areas in Berlin,” said Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier.

The federal grant, which members of the congressional delegation supported, will be allocated through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Shaheen historically secures robust funding for the RAISE grant program, which is formerly known as the BUILD or TIGER grant programs. This announcement comes on the heels of the Inflation Reduction Act clearing the Senate on Sunday afternoon, which contains significant North Country benefits that Senator Shaheen fought to secure, specifically in support of New Hampshire’s forest-based economy.

In November, the congressional delegation lauded a similar RAISE grant that was awarded to the City of Manchester. Shaheen and Hassan were both lead negotiators of the bipartisan infrastructure law, which provided $7.5 billion for the RAISE grant program.