Town Planner Cynthia May announced that a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant for Pettengill Road construction has been submitted by Acting Town Manager William Hart. She made her announcement at the Wednesday, June 12 Planning Board meeting, and said the grant was submitted June 3. She said the town expects to hear the results in the early fall.
“It is a long shot because we don’t currently have a match, but because a portion of the construction would fall in what’s designated rural, we were allowed to submit without a match,” May said. The town is asking for 100 percent funding, although full funding is acknowledged to be rare.
Historically federal dollars have been no more than 40 percent of a project’s total costs. May said there has been support from the New Hampshire Congressional delegation – U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte, R-NH and Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter, D-1st Dist., and Anne McLane Kuster, D-2nd Dist., as well as Governor Maggie Hassan, State Senator Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry, the director of the Manchester Boston Regional Airport, and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.
The grant seeks $8.2 million in federal funds. “The Town Council has made it clear in discussion about economic development that finding funding for the construction of Pettengill Road is job one,” Hart said. “We are convinced that the project’s readiness and huge job impacts should make it competitive.”
According to Hart, the town had submitted a similar application in an earlier round but it was not funded.
“The access road was not built then, and we were not as ready to proceed with sewer improvements than we are now,” he said. “That was more speculative – build it and maybe jobs will come. We know now that there is real demand for this industrial area if we can collectively find a way to finance the connector. If funded, this will be a great step toward much needed job opportunities for our region.”
In a press release Hart issued later in the week, he said, “the construction of this connector has been independently projected to create up to 10,000 new jobs.” According to May, the town would be ready for construction to start in the spring of 2014 if the grant is received. The application team was led by the town’s planning and economic development department and received assistance from its new contractor for economic development services, the Arnett Development Group.“At this point we just wait until the U.S. Department of Transportation makes a decision,” May said.