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Local roads are essential: Infrastructure funding critical to New York’s economic success

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and Sen. Tom O’Mara, along with their colleagues in the Legislature and principal stakeholders, called for an increase in funding to the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), Extreme Winter Recovery (EWR) program and other transportation-related programs in order to maintain and repair the state’s local roads, bridges and culverts.

These important arteries are critical to our communities and to the state’s economy. Failing roads and bridges can severely inhibit economic activity and drive up the cost of doing business in New York exponentially.

“Infrastructure investment is a key component to any budget planning and is vital to keep our economy and local communities running. The reality we face in New York is that we have some of the oldest infrastructure in the nation, and as a result, a consistent focus on repair, maintenance and upgrades is required,” said Leader Barclay (R,C,I-Pulaski).  “While there has been a strong federal commitment toward funding infrastructure improvements, most of those financial resources won’t reach local municipalities. We have the unique opportunity in this year’s state budget to ensure local roads, bridges and highways are properly funded and reliable well into the future. The Assembly Minority Conference will continue to stand alongside local highway departments to highlight the need for greater state-level investments in our transportation infrastructure.”

“I stand with my colleagues, local leaders and highway departments in recognizing that the improvement of our local roads and bridges is essential to the future of New York. Restoring damaged transportation infrastructure would help guarantee a strong economy and better future for our residents. We have the opportunity to increase state funding in programs such as CHIPS and EWR in this year’s state budget, and I strongly support those critical investments,” said Senate Minority Leader Ortt (R-North Tonawanda).

To put the magnitude of the situation in context, municipalities own and maintain 87 percent of New York’s roads and 52 percent of New York’s bridges.

“The fact of the matter is 87 percent of the roads and 52 percent of the state’s 18,000 bridges are owned and maintained by our local municipalities. Just as the MTA is the lifeblood of the downstate transportation network, CHIPS is the lifeblood of our upstate transportation network, particularly in poorer, rural areas where sometimes CHIPS is the only funding local towns have to fix their local roads, bridges and culverts,” said Assemblyman Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning). “Our local property taxpayers deserve to have some of their state tax dollars come back to their local communities to improve their local roads and bridges. New York’s local roads and bridges are facing billions of dollars in unmet needs coupled with the unprecedented decline in their conditions. We have a historic opportunity this year to strengthen our state’s commitment and partnership with our local governments and property taxpayers by increasing our investment in the proven, trusted and effective CHIPS program.”

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“I have always appreciated and welcomed the chance to join Assemblyman Palmesano in this important work and stand together with our colleagues, New York’s county and town highway superintendents and local leaders from throughout this state. It is critical to keep strengthening New York state’s commitment to our local transportation infrastructure. Local roads are essential to New York’s future. We have an historic opportunity in this year’s budget to recognize that state investment in local transportation infrastructure is a fundamental responsibility and vital to the strength and success of local communities, economies, environments, governments and taxpayers,” said Sen. Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats).     

“The Executive Budget continues to invest in important local transportation infrastructure programs; and with the infusion of additional federal transportation dollars, New York can properly address our aging infrastructure,” said Andrew P. Avery, P.E., President of the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association and Commissioner of the Chemung County Department of Public Works. “NYSCHSA and its affiliates are calling on the Legislature to make local roads and bridges a priority in this year’s budget. As we recover from the pandemic and rebuild our economy, making smart investments in our transportation system has never been more important. Increased commitments to CHIPS, EWR and BRIDGE-NY will help municipalities improve the conditions of our statewide system of roads, bridges and culverts. It will also promote job creation, spur economic development and keep motorists safe. Just like local transportation infrastructure, these investments are essential.”

“On behalf of the NYS Association of Town Superintendents of Highways, the state’s largest transportation association, I’d like to thank Gov. Hochul and the Legislature for their continued support of New York’s local roads, bridges and culverts. We appreciate the opportunity to highlight these vital local funding programs like CHIPS, EWR, State Touring Routes, PAVE-NY, BRIDGE NY and the newly-proposed Pave our Potholes (POP) that help us to build the economy and protect the safety of the traveling public,” said Rich Benjamin, President of the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways and Highway Superintendent for the Town of Thompson (Sullivan County). “NYSAOTSOH and its partners are advocating for increasing funding for the CHIPS Program by an additional $250 million above the proposed Executive Budget level and increasing the Extreme Winter Recovery program by $50 million. We look forward to continuing to work with our state elected officials throughout the budget process to maintain and increase these investments in the next five-year capital program.”

“Local roads and bridges are the critical arteries of our communities, carrying residents to work and school, goods to our businesses and first responders to the scene of an emergency. We have an historic opportunity in this year’s budget to make the kind of transformational investment in local transportation infrastructure that will benefit generations of New Yorkers,” said Stephen J. Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC). “That’s why we’re proud of our governor’s budget proposal and look forward to working with our legislative partners on both sides of the aisle to call for a final budget that seizes this historic opportunity and increases funding for local roads, bridges, tunnels, culverts and physical infrastructure. Assemblyman Palmesano and Sen. O’Mara have long championed the infrastructure funding needs at the local level and we are grateful for their continued leadership highlighting the need.”

“Local roads and bridges are part of the foundation of a thriving economy and safe community. Because towns are responsible for approximately two-thirds of all road miles in New York state, the Association of Towns believes it is critical for the state and local governments to work together to ensure that potholes get filled, roads get repaved and snow gets removed,” said Gerry Geist, Executive Director of the Association of Towns of the State of New York. “To accomplish this goal and to reflect the important role local roads and bridges play, we urge the state to continue funding highway programs like CHIPS, PAVE-NY, BRIDGE-NY and Extreme Winter Recovery at the highest levels possible.”

“New York’s economic future depends upon the condition and safety of our vast network of local roads and bridges. Local governments and their property taxpayers do not have the capacity to make necessary improvements without a stronger statelocal partnership,” said Peter A. Baynes, Executive Director of the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials (NYCOM). “For this reason, NYCOM fully supports this legislative effort to increase state investment in CHIPS, Extreme Winter Recovery and the NYSDOT capital plan, as well as allocating the governor’s proposed Pave Our Potholes funding through the CHIPS formula.”

“There has been renewed attention on strengthening the supply chain and that includes ensuring New York state has a strong infrastructure in place to transport goods to market in an efficient manner,” said Renee St. Jacques, New York Farm Bureau Associate Director of Public Policy. “Our farms also rely on safe roads and bridges to move farm equipment between fields to produce the food we need. The New York Farm Bureau supports increasing the investment into the CHIPS program to benefit communities across the state.”

“Gov. Hochul has stepped up to the plate with record funding for local roads, a welcome sign that New York is committed to fixing our deteriorating roads and bridges,” said Michael J. Elmendorf, President and CEO of the Associated General Contractors of New York State (AGC NYS). “Historic federal funding has presented the Legislature with an opportunity to leverage New York’s multi-billion dollar budget surplus to finally improving – not just trying to slow the deterioration of – our state’s infrastructure; a move that not only creates safer roads and bridges for our citizens, but also generates jobs amid rising inflation. Now is the time to keep New Yorkers safe on our roads and bridges for today and tomorrow. That includes investing in a robust five-year capital spending for local infrastructure. Thank you to Assemblyman Palmesano and Sen. O’Mara for continually leading the charge demanding action for local roads.”

“Local roads and bridges are the lifeblood for day-to-day activities for schools, hospitals, businesses and individuals; and yet New Yorkers spend $28 billion per year on safety, congestion and vehicle operating costs, according to TRIP,” said Dave Collins, Chairman of Rebuild NY Now. “In light of COVID-19, the investment gap to keep our communities safe continues to grow and CHIPS is a key component of increasing local funding. I commend Sen. O’Mara, Assemblyman Palmesano and their colleagues for their continued leadership on this critical issue and I am proud to stand with them in the fight for increased investment in our roads and bridges.”