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Lawmakers rally against proposed cuts to local transportation funding

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  • Staff Report 

In a unified stand, New York State Senator Tom O’Mara, Assemblymen Phil Palmesano and Chris Friend, along with Elmira Mayor Dan Mandell and other local leaders, have voiced strong opposition to Governor Hochul’s proposed budget cuts to state aid for local roads and bridges for the fiscal year 2024-25. The proposed cuts, including a significant $60 million reduction to the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), have sparked concern over the potential impact on local transportation infrastructure.

The group, speaking at a news conference in Big Flats, emphasized the critical role of CHIPS funding in maintaining and improving local roads, bridges, and culverts across New York. They highlighted the adverse effects of inflation on construction costs and criticized the budget proposal for undermining equitable transportation funding across upstate and downstate regions. With highway construction costs soaring by nearly 60% since 2022, the leaders argue that the proposed cuts could severely hamper local highway departments’ budgets.

In response to these challenges, O’Mara, Palmesano, Friend, and their colleagues are urging Governor Hochul and the state Legislature to reconsider the proposed reductions. They advocate for not only restoring the CHIPS funding but also increasing it to better support local communities in facing rising construction costs and maintaining their transportation infrastructure. The leaders’ efforts reflect a broader campaign to ensure sustained investment in New York’s local roads and bridges, essential for the state’s economic health and residents’ quality of life.