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Highway superintendents head to Albany to press for funding

Staff Reports Posted 9 March 2016 at 12:00 am

Photo courtesy of Steve Hawley’s office – Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) poses with a group of local road and infrastructure supporters, including several highway superintendents from Orleans County, following today’s CHIPs press conference.

ALBANY – More than 750 highway officials from towns and counties went to Albany today to press state legislators for a boost in funding for roads, culverts and bridges.

Several highway superintendents from Orleans County were among the group in Albany for the “Local Roads Matter” advocacy campaign.

By joining forces, the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association and the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways hope to pave the way for increased budgetary funding and secure programs to assist local roads, culverts and bridges.

Both groups strongly support the governor’s proposal for a five-year Highway Capital Program for the NYS Department of Transportation and urged the Legislature to support it as well.

To address the critical condition of local transportation infrastructure, both associations urged the Legislature and the governor to include, as part of the final 2016-2017 State Budget, the following program enhancements:

Five-Year Capital Plan for the NYS DOT;

Parity funding between the NYS DOT and the MTA Five-Year Capital Programs, funding both at $26.2 billion;

Support PAVE NY, a new $1 billion pavement program;

Support an additional $100 million in CHIPs above PAVE NY for a total of $690 million annually for the next four years; and

BRIDGE NY split evenly between state and local projects, expanded to include culverts and funded at $150 million annually.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) joined the highway officials for a news conference in the state capitol today. Hawley said he supports more funding in the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program. Currently, the governor has proposed no increase in CHIPS funding in his executive budget.

“As I’ve said for many years, Western New York’s infrastructure needs are preeminent,” Hawley said. “Our roads, bridges and highways are constantly bombarded with ice wedging, agriculture vehicles and automobiles. Unlike downstate, we have few mass transit systems, so local families and businesses rely on these routes each day and expect them to be safe. Unfortunately, the governor and New York City politicians refuse to provide us the resources necessary to sustain our infrastructure. No increase in CHIPS funding would be devastating for our communities and I urge legislative leaders to do what is right for upstate.”