Will Gov Chris Sununu veto SB241? - Granite Grok

Will Gov Chris Sununu veto SB241?

Our standard of measure (an engineering term that Gov. Sununu should know well) here at GraniteGrok includes the NH Constitution.  SB241 is yet another attempt to implement a 19th-century technology, a choo-choo train, for the benefit of a very few at the expense of very many. And of course, they are at it again with a “money raid on the highway fund.” A fund that is supposed to be dedicated STRICTLY for highway work.

Here’s the Constitutional restriction on such monies:

[Art.] 6-a. [Use of Certain Revenues Restricted to Highways.] All revenue in excess of the necessary cost of collection and administration accruing to the state from registration fees, operators’ licenses, gasoline road tolls or any other special charges or taxes with respect to the operation of motor vehicles or the sale or consumption of motor vehicle fuels shall be appropriated and used exclusively for the construction, reconstruction and maintenance of public highways within this state, including the supervision of traffic thereon and payment of the interest and principal of obligations incurred for said purposes; and no part of such revenues shall, by transfer of funds or otherwise, be diverted to any other purpose whatsoever.

Pretty clear “hands off, thieves”, eh?

Unfortunately, over the years this fund has been little more than a leaky bucket. Lawmakers gleefully abandon their oaths of fealty to the Constitution and reach for the cash. Then, after THEIR deed is done, and they have ignored the constitution yet again, they just HAVE to institute another gas tax to fill it up because the roads need fixing.  They really do believe we’re stupid and no one ever notices.

The thought of filling the holes never seem to occur to them.  You know, solve the root problem.

Playing Dr. Obvious for a moment, I don’t think they care that they break their oath. They just want the cash.

We stopped the Dems two attempts ago. It was Republicans that raised it last time with nary a word of “got bucket putty or glue?”. And they say that Big Biz is greedy?  Capitalist have nuttin’ on greedy lawmakers in search of a new or revamped revenue stream – all for, they say, “the public good”.

Back to SB241.  The Nashua Telegraph has a piece on Nashua Mayor Donchuss (you know, the one that has complained that pension costs are ruining their budget) sounding almost exultant about the Democrats approving his choo-choo train dreams. Even as it makes the slightest touch upon the restrictions I bolded above:

Last week, the New Hampshire Senate voted to approve Senate Bill 241, which would allow state officials to complete the Capitol Corridor Rail Expansion’s Project Development Analysis. This legislation, if ultimately signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu, would direct a portion of the state’s accrued toll credit funds, which are generally used for highway projects.

Way to go, Telegraph! Seriously, “generally”?  Not something like “Constitutionally mandated and restricted”?  Nothing that “oops, you really can’t do that”?  Just looking for that “access” by not holding them accountable? Yep, that’s the MSM that NH is now blessed with.

“Senate Bill 241 passing the Senate is very good news,” said Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess. “The next thing is to get it through the House and signed by the governor, and then go through with finishing up the final planning phase.”

Unless Gov. Sununu puts his foot down, puts his Constitutional Hat on, and simply says “I will not violate our Constitution to which I swore an oath to uphold”.

What say you, Guv?

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Here’s the bill:

SB 241-FN-A – AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE

02/21/2019   0541s

2019 SESSION

19-1005
06/01

SENATE BILL 241-FN-A

AN ACT relative to funding for the project development phase of the capitol corridor rail project.

SPONSORS: Sen. Levesque, Dist 12; Sen. Rosenwald, Dist 13; Sen. Sherman, Dist 24; Sen. Hennessey, Dist 5; Sen. Kahn, Dist 10; Sen. Fuller Clark, Dist 21; Rep. Mangipudi, Hills. 35; Rep. O’Brien, Hills. 36; Rep. Telerski, Hills. 35; Rep. Jack, Hills. 36; Rep. Cleaver, Hills. 35

COMMITTEE: Transportation

─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

AMENDED ANALYSIS

This bill permits the department of transportation to access certain federal funding for the purpose of completing the project development phase of the capitol corridor rail project in the 2019-2028 Ten Year Transportation Improvement Plan.

The bill also permits the department of transportation to use toll credits for this project.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

02/21/2019   0541s 19-1005
06/01

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen

AN ACT relative to funding for the project development phase of the capitol corridor rail project.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1  Department of Transportation.  The department of transportation is hereby authorized to access the Boston Urbanized Area Formula Funding program of the Federal Transit Administration, 49 U.S.C. section 5307, identified in the 2019-2028 Ten Year Transportation Improvement Plan, to complete the project development phase of the project named Nashua-Manchester-Concord, project number 40818.  The department may use toll credits pursuant to RSA 228:12-a for this project.

2  Use of Toll Credits.  Amend RSA 228:12-a to read as follows:

228:12-a  Use of Toll Credits.  The department may use toll credits as a match for federal highway funds solely for the funding of highway and road projects, [or] projects concerning the travel of motor vehicles on such highways and roads, and the completion of the project development phase of the project named Nashua-Manchester-Concord, project number 40818, in the 2019-2028 Ten Year Transportation Improvement Plan.  Any other use of toll credits shall require approval of the joint legislative capital budget overview committee, established in RSA 17-J:1, prior to moving the project forward for approval in the state 10-year transportation improvement program.

3  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

LBAO
19-1005
Amended 2/22/19