Assemblyman Robert Oaks (R,C-Macedon) joined county and town highway superintendents and other local leaders from across New York at a press conference March 6 to call for increased state support for local roads and bridges.
Assemblyman Robert Oaks (R,C-Macedon) joined county and town highway superintendents and other local leaders from across New York at a press conference March 6 to call for increased state support for local roads and bridges. The conference, organized by Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R-C, Corning) was done in anticipation of New York State 2013-14 budget negotiations kicking into high gear during the next two weeks
Highway superintendents from across the state have been in Albany this week as part of their “2013 Grassroots Advocacy Campaign for Local Roads & Bridges.” The group is urging Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders to increase the amount of funding the state provides for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program. Commonly known as CHIPS, the program provides the bulk of state aid to counties and towns for the maintenance and improvement of local roads and bridges.
CHIPS funding has remained stagnant since 2008. The governor put $363.1 million in CHIPS funding in his proposed 2013-14 state budget, the same level as last year. The legislators and local highway superintendents are calling for an increase of $100 million, to $463.1 million. They note 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 State.
"Flat CHIPS funding from New York State for the past five years has forced local towns and counties to fall behind on their maintenance programs for local roads,” said Assemblyman Oaks. “Without regular maintenance, roads will fall into disrepair and be more costly should they have to be rebuilt rather than repaired. Shifting $100 million in Gov. Cuomo's highway budget to CHIPS will help local town and county highway superintendents keep up with the demands of maintaining our local roads. I am hopeful that we can make this shift of funds during the upcoming budget negotiations."
The Legislature is set to adopt its respective one-house budget resolutions and convene a series of joint, bipartisan budget conference committees over the next few weeks. The public negotiations are aimed at reaching final agreements on the 2013-14 state budget before the start of New York’s new fiscal year on April 1.