Statement of Senator Bob Smith
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Hearing to Examine Rural Transportation Issues
August 20, 2002
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing to examine transportation issues particular to Vermont and New Hampshire's rural areas, as part of the Committee's series of hearings on reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).
First, I want to thank the Chairman for inviting New Hampshire Executive Councilor Ray Burton to testify at my request. It is an honor and a privilege to have Councilor Burton testify before the Committee, and I am pleased he could be here to represent the Granite State. Councilor Burton is also a county commissioner in Grafton County and has a reputation as the hardest working public official in the State of New Hampshire. As a resident of Woodville, New Hampshire, Ray has also been a long time advocate of our state's North County, and he is keenly aware of the link between a quality transportation system and the economic vitality of a region.
The next highway bill should continue to recognize regional differences, and in the case of our New England states, it is important to ensure that small rural states receive adequate funding for their infrastructure needs. Our region has the oldest infrastructure in the country and will need significant investments in maintaining and reconstructing our rural roads and bridges. I have worked closely with Councilor Burton on meeting the needs of New Hampshire's rural North Country. While we have shard many successes, including upgrades along Route 2, funding for the Conway Bypass, and improvements along Route 3 North of the Notch, much work remains to be done. In Ray's roles as an Executive Councilor, he plays a key role in how the State prioritizes its transportation projects in the State's 10-year highway plan. I am delighted to have Councilor Burton testify today before the Committee, and I look forward to his testimony.