A bi-partisan group of state lawmakers and local highway superintendents are pushing for more aid for local road projects, saying the aid has been flat since 2008.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal include $363 million for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program. The lawmakers wrote to Cuomo and want an increase of $100 million. They said it should come from part of $300 million in increased aid Cuomo is proposing for his New York Works economic-development initiative.
“We’re not asking for more money above the proposal. We’re asking to take $100 million of that and put it back into the CHIPS formula,” said Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, R-Corning, at a news conference.
Hundreds of highway officials from towns and counties were wearing orange shirts with, “Local Roads Matter” written on them today at the Capitol. They expressed concern about the condition of local roads without additional funding.
In a series in 2011, Gannett’s Albany Bureau reported how New York has more than $80 billion in unfunded needs to repair its infrastructure over the next 20 years, but no long-term plan to pay for it.
This year we are facing the perfect funding storm, coming off of a five-year freeze in state funding, double-digit inflation in highway construction materials, higher fuel costs and facing substantial losses in federal highway aid as a result of the new federal transportation program,” William Wright, the Ontario County highway superintendent and president of the state County Highway Superintendent Association, said in a statement.
The association said that local roads and bridges account for 87 percent of the roads, 52 percent of the bridges and 48 percent of the vehicle mileage logged in New York.
“What we do is getting more and more difficult because there is less money to do more work. And if we don’t do it now, it’s going to cost us more in the future,” said Martin Roberts, the highway superintendent in Reading, Schuyler County, and vice president of the state Association of Town Superintendents of Highways.
Here’s the letter: