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Southern Tier officials warn against CHIPS funding cuts

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Officials across New York’s Southern Tier are rallying against a proposed $60 million cut in CHIPS funding for local roads, bridges, and culverts in the 2024-25 executive budget. Described as a potential “crisis” by officials, the cut threatens to exacerbate financial strains on local highway departments amidst soaring construction costs. The CHIPS program, vital for infrastructure maintenance, faces reductions that could significantly impact Southern Tier communities, known for their extensive road and bridge networks.

Steuben, Chemung, and Schuyler County leaders are unified in their plea to Governor Kathy Hochul, emphasizing the dire consequences of diminished state support. Steuben County, with the highest number of bridges in New York State, and Schuyler County, grappling with inflation-driven cost increases for highway materials, highlight the broad regional impact of the funding shortfall. Local taxpayers may bear the brunt of these cuts, compounding fiscal challenges for municipalities.

State legislators and Elmira’s mayor have voiced concerns over the financial implications of reduced CHIPS funding, urging for not only the restoration of the proposed cuts but an increase to address the infrastructure funding gap. The collective call for sustained and enhanced state investment underscores the critical role of CHIPS funding in supporting the Southern Tier’s infrastructure needs and the wellbeing of its residents.