Jeff Fuentes Gleghorn
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) signed into law by President Biden is providing funding for critical projects across New Hampshire. The White House fact sheet says that the “need for action in New Hampshire is clear,” a statement every New Hampshire driver can agree with. New Hampshire has over 200 bridges and 700 miles of highways in poor condition, including several historic covered bridges. Driving on poor bridges and roads costs every driver around $500 per year. New Hampshire expects to receive $1.1 billion over the next five years to repair roads, and around $225 million more for bridge repair and replacement.
More concerning is the degree of PFAS, or “forever chemical,” contamination in New Hampshire’s drinking water. In February 2022, a study was released showing that residents of Merrimack had higher rates of cancer than normal, especially thyroid, colon, and prostate cancer. An interactive map from the Environmental Working Group shows well over 100 locations with contaminated drinking water in New Hampshire, mostly towards the southern half of the state.
Over the next five years, President Biden’s IIJA will provide over $400 million in funding to ensure that drinking water is safe and clean in every community. That money could be used to help with projects in towns like Bedford, Litchfield, Merrimack and Londonderry, which are locked in legal battles with the chemical companies that contaminated their water. The health and safety of thousands of people in New Hampshire depends on having the money local governments need to provide safe drinking water.