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State highway plan called 'fiscally restrained'
The approximately $3.5 billion plan will serve as the blueprint for state transportation construction projects for the next 10 years, but a separate section includes more than $1 billion in additional projects that will not be funded without a toll or gas tax increase, something that is uncertain.
Among the other projects not funded in the plan are: widening I-93 from the I-89 junction in Bow to Exit 16 in Concord from two to three lanes, costing $194 million; reconstructing and reconfiguring Exits 6 and 7 on I-293 in Manchester, costing $143 million; widening the F.E. Everett Turnpike from Merrimack to Bedford from two to three lanes, at $70 million; reconstructing the Exit 6 interchange, rehabilitating the General Sullivan Bridges and rebuilding toll plazas on the Spaulding Turnpike, $85 million; building open road tolling at the Bedford Toll Plaza on the F.E. Everett Turnpike, for $18.5 million; and a few smaller projects such as removing the F.E. Everett Turnpike Exit 12 tolls.
She said the additional funding will help older citizens and those without driver's licenses or cars.
The council decides toll increases but lawmakers decide what the gas tax is, and since 1991 lawmakers have defeated every attempt to raise it, including last year when a 12-cent increase over three years was proposed.
Hassan will review the plan and make her recommendations before sending it to the legislature, which will do its own review and make its own recommendations before acting on it in the spring.
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