Shaheen urges congressional action on immigration reform; tours new bridge site

PORTSMOUTH – Sen. Jeanne Shaheen reiterated her preference for congressional action on comprehensive immigration reform on Friday as she toured the site of the Sarah Long Bridge replacement project with state officials.


According to, Shaheen said that while there is precedent for President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, Congress should act.


“We need comprehensive immigration reform,” Shaheen said, adding that “it would have been helpful for the President to lay out the principles” he supports on immigration reform and then urge the Congress to pass a bipartisan bill.


“I think we still need Congress to act on comprehensive immigration reform,” Shaheen reportedly said. “That’s the only way we’re going to address it …not just security on the border, but dealing with people who are here illegally.”


Shaheen backed the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate on a bipartisan basis last year – also with the support of New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte. But House speaker John Boehner has refused to bring the bill to the House floor.


Shaheen and state Transportation Commissioner Christopher Clement discussed the benefits of replacing the Sarah Long Bridge, a $173 million project expected to be completed in 2018. Shaheen said it is important for Congress to continue to support the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Return (TIGER) program.


“Replacing the Sarah Long Bridge is an essential infrastructure project that will support economic activity in New Hampshire and Maine and the national security needs served by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard,” Shaheen said. “The Sarah Long Bridge replacement project has been a bipartisan, bi-state effort that will benefit our economy for years to come, and I applaud the New Hampshire and Maine Departments of Transportation’s combined efforts to make this project a success.”


Shaheen helped secure a $25 million TIGER grant for the project.


Her office says she has been “a strong supporter of efforts to modernize and maintain New Hampshire’s infrastructure. She was a lead advocate for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation’s and Maine Department of Transportation’s joint application to replace the Sarah Long Bridge under the TIGER program.”


TIGER funds have helped pay for the replacement of the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth, Concord’s Downtown Complete Streets Improvement Project and improvements to the New Hampshire Northcoast Railroad.

Author: John DiStaso

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