When Rep. Frank Guinta first ran for Congress, he took what he called a “tough stance” and opposed the use of federal funds for Portsmouth’s deteriorating Memorial Bridge.
Asked about whether he would support earmarks for replacement of the Memorial Bridge, he said he’s taken “a no-earmark pledge.” As such, he said, if a project is not a “federal responsibility, other funds than federal funds are going to have to be found. It’s a tough stance, and it doesn’t mean the project’s not worthy. But the budget is $1.3 trillion out of balance. We have to bring the budget into balance.”
After a year in office, his tough stance has apparently given way. Guinta now supports a massive river dredging project for the Port of New Hampshire and replacing, rather than rehabilitating, the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge — and he vows to use his seat on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to help secure federal funding. “I’m here to govern,” he now says.
Guinta said funds could come from various sources, including the states of New Hampshire and Maine; a five-year, $260 billion Highway Bill making its way through Congress; and grants including Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) funding.
To critics who say the transportation bill is larded up with unnecessary spending, Guinta said, “I’m here to govern.” He cited the Constitution as his basis for making infrastructure projects a national, Federal responsibility.