The appropriations bills working their way through Congress contain several requests for funding of North Country projects and priorities.
The requests were made by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Annie Kuster and are part of the Congressionally Directed Spending mechanism that members of Congress are allowed to submit for inclusion in the appropriation bills that fund the federal government. While having a proposal selected by a senator or representative is the first step to receiving the funding, the requests still need to make it through the bill process and signed into law.
Shaheen, as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced yesterday that she had submitted $89 million in requests for communities and organizations across New Hampshire, several of which are in the NoCo. Her local requests include:
$300,000 for the Town of Littleton to be leveraged with public and private dollars to complete construction at Littleton Riverfront Commons;
$51,000 for Bethlehem Redevelopment Association for a solar array installation at The Colonial Theatre;
$110,000 for White Mountain Science, Inc. to increase its capacity to support northern NH students and teachers by growing and updating their vehicle fleet and adding STEM equipment to their vehicles;
$80,000 for the Town of Bethlehem to design and build a skate park in the center of town;
$1.4 million for the Town of Whitefield to update an old iron water main, correct a failed drainage system, and other upgrades in the Union Street area.
Shaheen had numerous other requests for statewide organizations that would have direct and indirect impacts on the North Country.
“The Congressionally Directed Spending process is a crucial opportunity to ensure small states like New Hampshire aren’t shortchanged the resources we deserve, particularly as we continue to grapple with the fallout from the pandemic. I’m thrilled to announce that I successfully secured over $89 million for New Hampshire in the Senate Democrats’ government funding proposal announced last week. This funding supports 95 projects that respond to a variety of needs across our state – from expanding access to health care in underserved areas to investing in workforce development, expanding access to affordable housing and shelter services, supporting victims of violence, updating aging infrastructure and much more,” said Senator Shaheen. “This bill is an important first step in the appropriations process and marks a landmark investment in New Hampshire. I’ll continue to use my leadership on the Senate Appropriations Committee to ensure these provisions advance through Congress and are sent to the President’s desk to deliver these resources as swiftly as possible to our communities.”
Rep. Annie Kuster also submitted requests connected with the North Country. They include:
$2,625,000 for the Town of Northumberland to construct an Emergency Operation Center to help improve public safety in Northumberland and the surrounding communities;
$419,250 for the Profile Safe Route to School Project to help with the Profile Community Trail that would provide a safe route for students to walk and bike to school, and connect Bethlehem and Franconia via the trail.
Sen. Maggie Hassan did not make any requests this year. A spokesperson said Hassan, as chair of the Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight Subcommittee, “is focused on protecting taxpayer dollars and rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse. There have been legitimate concerns about how Congressionally-directed funding has been misused in the past, and she wants to see whether the safeguards added to the process work.”