2024 Quarter 1: Engineering Industry Legislative Updates

10 Year Transportation Plan (2025 to 2034)

Yesterday, Bill Oldenburg (NHDOT Director of Project Development) and NHDOT Commissioner Bill Cass presented information to the House Public Works and Highways Committee.

New!! PowerPoint on the 10 Year Transportation Plan.

View current plan.

Local Bridge and Highway Aid

This week, the Senate Finance Committee sent SB 398 to interim study (effectively killing the bill). You can read the hearing report and the committee report here. The Legislature appears to have put away the checkbook and will not be spending any new dollars in this off-budget year. As you can see in the hearing report, ACEC-NH strongly supported this legislation.

Driveway Permit Bill Scaled Back

This week, the House Public Work and Highways Committee amended HB 1202. This bill seeks to establish certain deadlines for issuance of permits for the alteration of driveways exiting onto public ways. The new version of the bill only applies to any existing or proposed residential use of land, including multifamily development. In those cases, NHDOT the department shall issue a driveway permit within 30 days of filing.

Subcommittee Scraps PE & LS Licensing Board Merger

At its public hearing in January, ACEC-NH strongly opposed HB 1286 before the House Executive Departments and Administration Committee. This bill merges the board of professional engineers and the board of land surveyors into one regulatory body called the board of professional engineers and land surveyors. The board would consist of 5 members appointed by the governor and council, including 2 professional engineers, 2 land surveyors, and one public member. ACEC-NH and many other land survey, and engineering professionals opposed this bill. We believe HB 1286 is a solution in search of a problem. The two boards as currently configured serve the public and profession extremely well. A subcommittee that reviewed the bill following the public hearing voted 5 to 0 to kill it.

Drinking Water $$ Bill Moves Forward

SB 393 appropriates $25,000,000 to NHDES for the purpose of funding drinking water infrastructure in Derry. The funding will be used for Phase 2 of the Southern NH Regional Water Project, which aims to increase water supply to multiple towns impacted by PFAS contamination and growing water demands. The infrastructure will include booster pumping stations, pressure reducing stations, water storage tanks, water mains, and other necessary projects. Where does the $25 million come from? A combination of federal funds, the drinking water and groundwater trust fund, the PFAS remediation loan and grant fund and local contributions.

Wastewater Engineering Update

The State Senate has passed an amended version of SB 492, which makes several changes to wastewater engineering laws. Firstly, it removes the term “intercepting” from the description of sewers for the purpose of applying for and distributing state aid grants. Secondly, it raises the fee for wastewater operator certificates from $50 to $100. Lastly, it changes the term “consulting engineers” to “consulting engineering firms” for rule-making purposes. The bill will take effect on July 1, 2024.

Solid Waste

This week, the House Environment and Agriculture Committee conducted public hearings on bills related to solid waste regulation. This includes HB 1145, prohibiting the private ownership of landfills; and HB 1602, relative to suspending the issuance of new landfill permits until 2031. HB 1145 would ban private ownership of any new landfill, requiring the state to own all new landfills in New Hampshire. HB 1620 puts a moratorium on new landfill permits. ACEC-NH has been opposed to these types of proposals for many years.

View the complete list of bills ACEC-NH is tracking here.