Hawley says big disparity in state infrastructure funds for NYC, upstate

Posted 2 March 2016 at 12:00 am

File photo by Tom Rivers – The lift bridge in Knowlesville has been limited to one lane and 6 tons in recent years. The bridge was built in 1910.

Press Release, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) today sharply criticized Gov. Cuomo over his proposed plan to widen the disparity between upstate and downstate infrastructure funding in this year’s budget.

Some say the New York City area could receive as much as $4 billion more than upstate for things like airport reconstructions, the Tappan Zee Bridge and budget deficits at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

“What the governor and my legislative colleagues from downstate do not understand is that the vast majority of upstate residents use automobiles as their primary form of transportation,” Hawley said. “There is no such thing as a subway or readily available taxi in Western New York. Everyone from our children who ride the bus to school, to our parents who drive to work, to our farmers who transport produce to market uses local roads, bridges and highways. Deficient infrastructure puts families at risk every day and continues to cause expensive repairs to the suspensions and tires of automobiles. We are part of New York too and deserve our fair share!”

Hawley’s comments come after recent news articles surfaced illustrating how downstate politicians are trying to secure more funding for pet projects during budget negotiations. A recent story regarding the Rochester area has brought to light the desperate state of its bridges. Local highway superintendents and other public officials have echoed Hawley’s calls for more adequate funding of upstate infrastructure.

“The Town of Hamlin, like many small rural towns, desperately needs their fair share of infrastructure money,” said Town of Hamlin Highway Superintendent Steven Baase. “There is no mass transit here, so everything relies on the condition of roads and bridges. The price of rebuilding or maintaining roads is skyrocketing, but we still have to comply with the tax cap. We are falling farther behind in road repairs and something has to give. Please reinstate the infrastructure parity between upstate and downstate in the budget. It is imperative!”