Sen. Seward Joins Fellow Lawmakers to Call For More Aide to Repair Roads and Bridges
State lawmakers and local highway superintendents gathered in Albany Wednesday to lobby for more funding for local bridges, roads and culverts.
Republican State Senator Jim Seward was among several legislators at an press conference yesterday calling on Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders to increase state funding for local highway projects.
Local roads and bridges account for 87 percent of the roads in New York.
Seward says, “Local roads, bridges, and culverts are the backbone of our state’s infrastructure, and we need a comprehensive strategy, along with state funding, to improve these key transportation components to ensure motorist safety and economic vitality.”
A 2013 study conducted by the town highway superintendents association found that New York needs to invest an additional $1.3 billion per year on local roads and bridges to prevent them from becoming deficient. An earlier report from the state comptroller called 32% of New York’s local bridges deficient and 40% of local roads fair or poor, and getting worse. Just last week, a national transportation advocacy group, TRIP, said that deteriorating roads cost the average driver in New York State roughly $1,600 a year in lost time, fuel costs, vehicle repairs and other expenses.
Seward and fellow lawmakers are seeking a $50 million increase in Consolidated Highway Improvement Program or (CHIPs) funding in the next State budget. In addition lawmakers want $200 million dedicated to a “State Aid to Local Bridges and Culverts Program” to address local highway priorities.
Last year lawmakers approved the first increase in CHIPS funding since 2008, the budget included an additional $75 million for local road and bridge projects.
The funding often determines just how many roads will be fixed by local municipalities on an annual basis. Last year the City of Cortland approved borrowing $1.4 million dollars over five years to repave more than two dozen streets. The city plans to use its CHIPS money to repay the loan. The CHIPS money is generated from Federal and state fuel taxes.