Local state legislators join rally for road funding

Provided photos: Assemblyman Steve Hawley is joined by many local highway superintendents during a rally in Albany on Wednesday for increased state funding for roads.

Staff Reports Posted 6 March 2020 at 2:52 pm

Assemblyman Michael Norris, R-Lockport, (front center) supports more state funding for road paving.

Many highway superintendents from Orleans County and throughout the state were in Albany on Wednesday to advocate for an increase in state funding for road paving and maintenance.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, said there have been of stagnant investment in the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and the governor has proposed eliminating $65 in Extreme Winter Recovery funds.

“Millions of upstate residents, emergency services vehicles, farmers and manufacturers use our roads each day and their safety and quality of life matter just as much as a subway patron,” Hawley said. “We are seeking a $100 million increase to CHIPS and a restoration of the $65 million Extreme Winter Recovery fund – a small and reasonable step toward parity in a budget totaling over $175 billion. I will continue fighting to see that upstate gets it fair share this year.”

Hawley said the CHIPS funding has been held stagnant at $438.1 million statewide despite billions of dollars in increases to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and repair downstate bridges.

“Whenever the MTA cries broke Gov. Cuomo is right there willing to throw more tax dollars their way, yet upstate has to fight tooth and nail each year for a little bit extra to ensure we have safe travel,” Hawley said.

Assemblyman Michael Norris, R-Lockport, also joined the rally for road funding. He supports a $150 million increase in CHIPS.

“Beyond repairing and rebuilding our local roads, bridges and culverts, the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) is the key difference in determining the success of hometown communities across New York State, in terms of their desirability as a place to call home, their public safety for motorists and their economic viability,” Norris said. “Without safe and well-maintained roads, our communities will struggle to compete.”

State Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, also attended the rally with hundreds of highway superintendents and their employees.

“We deserve fair funding for our upstate roads and bridges,” Ortt said.

State Sen. Robert Ortt chats on Wednesday with Ed Morgan, Murray town highway superintendent, during a rally at the State Capitol for road funding. Other highway leaders pictured from Orleans County include from left: Orleans County DPW Superintendent John Papponetti, Ridgeway Highway Superintendent John Olinger and Yates Highway Superintendent Roger Wolfe.

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