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Valley News – Hassan touts benefits of bipartisan infrastructure bill he helped negotiate

By on August 7, 2021 0


Posted: 8/6/2021 22:15:14 PM

Modified: 08/06/2021 22:15:22 PM

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan held a virtual meeting with New Hampshire leaders on Friday morning to discuss how the Senate’s pending infrastructure bill would benefit the state.

Panelists detailed plans to universalize broadband access, prepare the electricity grid for renewable energy and revitalize the roads and economy of Granite State.

“As you all know, we have all worked on this bipartisan infrastructure bill,” Hassan said. “It is central to establishing a solid foundation for future economic growth.”

She gave a “snapshot” of the $ 1,000 billion package she helped negotiate before turning the conversation over to the panelists.

Carole Monroe sits in Dublin, the NH broadband committee.

“We really need to have that last house on the last road. … It took us a long time to see broadband as infrastructure, ”she said.

Currently, the bill allocates more than $ 42 billion to expand broadband access to remote rural communities through public-private partnerships. New Hampshire will receive a minimum of $ 100 million. Additional funding will subsidize the monthly Internet bills of low-income families.

According to White House data, more than 13% of households in Sullivan County do not have internet access and more than 10% of households do not have a computer, smartphone or tablet. Broadband access in Grafton County is slightly better but similar.

Across the border in Orange County, Vermont, nearly 17% of households cannot access the internet.

The bill is broad and, if passed, it would also fund an improved electricity grid. Sam Evans-Brown, director of Clean Energy New Hampshire, said the state needs a modern electricity grid to deploy renewables that have become considerably more affordable with new technology. Bill includes $ 73 billion investment in clean energy transmission

The proposed “Grid Authority” would help install thousands of miles of new power lines to bring electricity through state lines from sites where it is cheapest to generate. Within the state, he said, the priority is to create a flexible grid that can capture the “resources distributed in each of our homes.”

He added that electric vehicle drivers “want to know they will be able to access charging while on road trips” and described New Hampshire as a “gaping hole” in electric vehicle charging in New England. The bill includes funding to create the first nationwide network of electric vehicle chargers.

Jay Minkarah, of the Nashua Planning Commission, spoke of the need to improve the state’s infrastructure in the face of increasing extreme weather conditions.

“It’s really critical that we make these investments and that we make these investments at a time when we know the vulnerability is only increasing,” he said.

The American Society of Engineers gave New Hampshire’s infrastructure a C-minus and designated nearly 13% of the state’s bridges as “structurally deficient” in 2017.

Additional funding will help the state clean up public water contaminated with lead and PFAS, increase shoreline resilience, and build a passenger rail line from towns in southwest New Hampshire to Boston.

Senator Hassan said the Senate would hold “a vote to end the amendment process and move to the final vote” on Saturday. Although there may still be other amendments, she said, “we are approaching the final passage.”

“This is a unique opportunity to invest not only in New Hampshire and our country today,” she said, “but also to build (the) platform for innovation and 21st century leadership. ”

Claire Potter is a member of the Report for America Corps. She can be reached at [email protected] or 603-727-3242.