On WMUR’s Close Up, former state House Speaker Bill O’Brien explained his opposition to raising the state’s gas tax, which would generate additional revenue to repair and maintain the state’s roads and bridges. “We don’t need the money,” he declared.
The state’s bridges are in great shape, he wrote on Facebook:
I have been told most are red-listed because the approaches don’t comply with federal highway standards as they have evolved over the years. It’s like calling our houses red-listed because they no longer comply every time the housing or electrical codes are updated.
It’s an outright lie. Here’s the criteria the Department of Transportation uses when it places a bridge on the state’s “Red List:”
Bridges where one or more major structural element is rated as poor condition or worse, or require weight limit posting.
A study by a national transportation research group notes there are 152 state-maintained bridges in New Hampshire that are currently rated poor for one or more structural elements. By 2016, that number is expected to increase by 15 percent under current funding.