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December 2, 2013

State unlikely to fund Pettengill Road project

Town Council moves forward with tax district

LONDONDERRY — Officials are pessimistic the Pettengill Road project will find its way into the state’s 10-year transportation plan, despite an economic study’s conclusion it could lead to 10,000 or more jobs.

Transportation officials did not include Pettengill in their preliminary recommendations that went through a series of public hearings this summer and fall.

Town and other officials from the region, highlighting Pettengill’s economic potential, appealed for its inclusion during a forum in Londonderry in September.

But Pettengill Road isn’t in the plan.

“Nothing has changed,” Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission executive director David Preece said yesterday.

Local and regional efforts have made every effort to get the project into the plan, but state officials have been reluctant to include Pettengill Road because it is a local road and there are so many state projects to complete amid scarce funding, Preece said.

An advisory commission is expected to send its recommendations concerning the transportation plan to Gov. Maggie Hassan as soon as this week, Preece said.

Meanwhile, the House Public Works and Highways Committee is expected to begin its review of the transportation plan today in Concord.

The proposed four-lane road would cost an estimated $12.5 million and open 1,000 acres for development between Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and Interstate 93.

A study by Laconia-based Applied Economic Research concluded business development along the road could create 10,000 to 25,000 jobs.

Officials seized on that as something which could benefit the town, region and state.

“Pettengill Road is the most attractive business development opportunity in New Hampshire — there is essentially no competition for its large, flat sites served by sewer and water elsewhere in the state,” the study said.

But there is a lot of competition for few dollars.

The planning commission asked the state to fund more than $480 million in projects. State transportation officials have said the region can expect about $116 million in funding.

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