The New Hampshire Senate
Republican Majority Office
Senators oppose turnpike toll hike
Concord, NH – The Governor’s Advisory Commission on Intermodal Transportation (GACIT) held a public hearing on Monday regarding the Department of Transportation plan for a statewide toll hike.
Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead), Senator Kevin Avard (R-Nashua) and Senator Andy Sanborn (R-Bedford) issued the following statements after attending the hearing and speaking in opposition.
“While I respect the authority of the Executive Council to propose raising toll prices in New Hampshire, we already have a 10-year highway plan which has held 23 public hearings during its review process without a toll hike being brought up for discussion,” said Senate President Chuck Morse. “A toll hike is nothing more than a tax increase on hard-working Granite Staters. Governor Sununu and the legislature sent a loud and clear message that New Hampshire was open for business with the tax cuts in the last budget and raising these taxes is counterproductive to that progress.”
“While I remain opposed to any increase in toll prices, I am pleased with the decision to postpone the vote scheduled for Wednesday’s Executive Council meeting, allowing for the appropriate public hearing process to take place,” added Morse.
“Raising toll rates at this time is completely unnecessary and irresponsible,” said Senate Transportation Chairman Regina Birdsell. “The process we have in place to review the 10-year highway plan is working and the projects are paid for without increasing tolls. This will only add more money to an already flush fund. I am pleased that the Governor has decided to pull the vote from the Council agenda and allow the process to move forward.”
“It would be wrong for us to raise taxes and fees on working Granite Staters,” said Senator Kevin Avard. “Just three years ago Maggie Hassan raised the gas tax, increasing living expenses for every person in the state. It would be unreasonable for us to go back to taxpayers and ask them to foot another bill.”
“During the past few years, the legislature has done an effective job while working within the budget to meet both short and long-term infrastructure needs of New Hampshire. We were able to secure GARVEE and TIFIA bonds to free up additional bonding capacity and to help finish the I-93 widening. And, our own responsible budgeting allowed us to send $36 million back to municipalities for local road repair,” said Senator Andy Sanborn. “This proposal by the Executive Council would increase tolls by up to 50% without allowing the legislature or the public to debate the issue clearly shows this system is broken. As chairman of the state’s tax policy committee, I believe the decision to raise taxes should fall directly to the legislature and not to the executive branch of government. Additionally, the cost projections and assumptions put forth by DOT have significant flaws that hurt the proposal’s overall integrity. Let’s put this tax-raising-elf back up on the shelf and re-engage the public in the New Hampshire way.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2017