Hassan Also Highlights Her Bipartisan Bill Introduced Today to Help Build Out Rural Broadband Infrastructure
WASHINGTON – In a Senate Finance Committee hearing today, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan discussed the importance of securing long-term funding for infrastructure projects in New Hampshire. Senator Hassan asked questions of hearing witnesses including Victoria Sheehan, Commissioner of New Hampshire Department of Transportation and President of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
During the hearing, Senator Hassan also highlighted the bipartisan bill that she introduced today to build out rural broadband and help Granite Staters thrive in the 21st century economy.
To watch the Senator’s questioning, click here.
Long-Term Funding for Infrastructure
Congress is currently working on legislation that would authorize and fund the federal surface transportation programs that provide critical resources for highway and public infrastructure projects across the country. During her questioning, Senator Hassan highlighted the importance of passing a long-term reauthorization of this bill, rather than a short-term extension, to help provide states like New Hampshire with the sustained funding and certainty that they need to improve road safety and strengthen the local economy.
Commissioner Sheehan discussed how a cold weather state like New Hampshire would be particularly devastated by a short-term extension of these programs given the state’s short construction season. “The inability to advertise projects in the fall and winter could mean that we would lose the majority of an entire construction season. So even short-term extensions could have longer-term impacts,” Commissioner Sheehan said.
The Commissioner discussed projects such as improving resiliency for critical bridges, safety improvements to intersections, and guardrail upgrades.
Building Out Rural Broadband
Senator Hassan went on to discuss her bipartisan efforts to build out rural broadband in New Hampshire and across the country.
“Today, I reintroduced the Broadband Financing Flexibility Act – a bipartisan bill with Senator Capito that would expand tax-advantaged financing tools for rural broadband projects,” Senator Hassan said. “Our bill would make it easier for state and local governments to work with private partners and finance high-speed rural broadband projects with tax-exempt bonds.”
Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of The Rural Broadband Association, discussed how Senator Hassan’s bipartisan bill would help encourage private sector deployment of high-speed broadband to rural areas.
“Your initiative to focus on communities that need broadband access is really critical,” said Ms. Bloomfield.
Senator Hassan also discussed her successful bipartisan efforts to extend the deadline for state and local governments to use CARES Act relief funds for broadband and other infrastructure projects in the year-end relief package.
Ms. Bloomfield thanked Senator Hassan for her efforts to extend this deadline for communities, and emphasized the importance of federal and state partnerships in order to help communities build out the broadband infrastructure that they need.