Geosyntec Engineer Logan Johnson (New Hampshire) recently joined the Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT), Victoria Sheehan, as guests on the New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) call-in talk show The Exchange with Laura Knoy.
The discussion centered around New Hampshire's transportation infrastructure. NHPR invited Logan to participate because she is the Chair of the Report Card Committee for the New Hampshire Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE-NH). ASCE-NH plans to release the 2017 Report Card on New Hampshire's Infrastructure on April 5, 2017.
Transportation infrastructure is important to New Hampshire, because it contains many bridges and road surfaces that are in need of repair. The Governor's budget includes an Infrastructure Revitalization Fund that could allocate surplus state funds to the NHDOT to address maintenance concerns. However, transportation improvements in the state are currently funded through a tax on retail gasoline purchases which decrease as vehicle gas mileage increases, and the use of hybrid and electric vehicles increases. So, alternative means of funding are needed.
Logan and the Commissioner acknowledged that many roads and bridges in the state are in poor condition, but that it is difficult to decide where to invest for the best long-term results. The Commissioner stated that when investment is deferred, it can cost three or four times as much to get back to the same level condition. Logan agreed that investing in already-good roads and bridges is better for saving money in the future, saying that the roads that have the most damage are "low-tier" roads.
When a listener was curious about how federal funding is used in transportation infrastructure, Logan answered that New Hampshire relies heavily on federal funds, but that they are insufficient for the amount of work that needs to be done. She also echoed the Commissioner's comments that NHDOT can only use federal dollars for specific projects, so higher volume roads are in better condition overall because they affect more people.
Logan and the Commissioner also discussed the impact of climate change, severe weather, and wildlife on road development in New Hampshire.
You can listen to the radio program at: The Exchange
To learn more about Logan see her profile at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/logan-johnson-pe-1a301730/