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Groups call for $1 billion in funding for road improvements across New York

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  • Staff Report 

A group of organizations representing construction, business, and municipalities is urging New York state officials to provide an additional $1 billion in funding for road improvement projects, citing rising costs that have diminished the impact of recent spending commitments.

The Rebuild NY coalition, made up of business entities and local government advocates, is requesting $1.12 billion to be added to the state budget in the coming weeks to reach the same level of spending targets adopted in 2015. The cost of materials, including steel and asphalt, as well as fuel, have all risen in the last year, making construction projects for the state Department of Transportation more expensive.

“Without at least this level of funding added to the NYSDOT’s core program this year, we will see significant reductions in the maintenance and reconstruction work done in every NYSDOT Region in the state,” the groups warned in a letter sent to Governor Kathy Hochul this week. New York in the last year has sought to boost funding for road and bridge improvement programs as the federal government has provided states with cash in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A $32.8 billion capital program for the Department of Transportation includes $6.1 billion for bridge and highway assistance. On average, the core construction program averages out to more than $2.6 billion a year. However, the money may not be keeping pace with the cost of construction as inflation continues to rise. Fuel costs are up by more than 250%, while the cost of steel has more than doubled.

Governor Kathy Hochul is expected to introduce a budget plan that is due to pass at the end of March. The coalition is urging the Governor to include the additional funding to keep the level of funding at the same level when the five-year program was initially adopted in 2022.

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