House Republican Budget Cuts Would Downshift Responsibility for Road and Bridge Maintenance to Local Communities

House Finance Republicans Vote for Drastic Cuts Forcing DOT to Lay Off 50% of Workers, Turn Over 2500 Miles of Roads and 1,000 Bridges to Municipalities

CONCORD, NH – The House Finance Committee today voted to pass HB 357, downshifting responsibility for road and bridge maintenance to local communities.

The reckless bill would cut the Department of Transportation’s operating budget nearly 30 percent this year, and force DOT to lay off 692 workers – 50% of its workforce, eliminating 40% of highway maintenance jobs and 41% of bridge maintenance jobs. As a result of these devastating cuts, DOT will be forced to turn over 2,500 miles of roads and 1,000 bridges to municipalities.

“Even House Finance Chair Neal Kurk has conceded that these draconian cuts are irresponsible, yet Republicans on the House Finance Committee still voted unanimously for this amendment that would end the Department of Transportation as we know it,” said Representative Dan Eaton, Assistant Democratic Floor Leader.  “The challenges facing our Highway Fund require that we come together to make tough choices, not simply pass the buck onto local communities. When you downshift responsibility for over 2,500 miles of roads and 1,000 bridges to local communities, you will either have more dangerous roads or higher property taxes – or both.”

“The one simple question that House Republicans simply cannot answer is who will plow our roads and inspect our bridges after they’re through with these devastating cuts,” said Representative Susan Ford, Democratic Floor Leader and a member of Finance Committee. “Make no mistake, these shortsighted and misguided cuts will have a huge cost that our families, visitors and businesses will pay in lost economic output and dangerous and poorly maintained roads.”