Norris joins legislators in pressing for more state funding for infrastructure

Posted 8 March 2022 at 2:47 pm

Press Release, Assemblyman Michael Norris

Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,C-Lockport) joined lawmakers today to rally for an increase in state budgetary funds going to programs that support local infrastructure, including the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Program (CHIPS), Extreme Winter Recovery (EWR), PAVE-NY and others.

Michael Norris

These programs were not given increases in Gov. Hochul’s proposed Executive Budget, and Norris and his colleagues are hoping that the final state budget will change that to better enable local highway departments to keep up with road, bridge, sewer and culvert maintenance, repairs and improvements.

“As the ice and snow melts, Western New Yorkers don’t enter spring—we enter ‘pothole season.’ This is the most expensive and dangerous time for motorists, but also for our local governments who are working around the clock to assess and prioritize recovery of our roads,” said Norris.

While the state has invested billions of dollars into improving airports like LaGuardia and rebuilding Penn Station in New York City, and rebuilding and renaming the Mario Cuomo Bridge in Westchester, equal investments have not been seen in other parts of the state, despite infrastructure that is, quite literally, rusting away in some areas.

Norris has worked hard by reaching across the aisle to deliver historic infrastructure aid for the district following recent flooding along Lake Ontario. He also helped deliver an increase to CHIPS funding—the first in nearly a decade. But with the costs of inflation, difficult winters and decades of stalled repairs, he said more needs to come.

Positively, Norris said, Gov. Hochul proposed a new $100 million Operation Pave Our Potholes (POP) program in her Executive Budget. He said he wholly supports the initiative and hopes it will remain, along with funding increases for the tradition revenue streams, in the final agreement.

“Not only do we need our infrastructure to be safe for passage but we also rely on it for the transportation of consumer goods and our economy,” Norris said. “As our reliance has shifted on a more global economy, improvements are needed and long overdue but our local governments need the funding from Albany. This budget must take all of these factors into account and provide the money needed for infrastructure upstate and in Western New York, just as it does for those big ticket investments we keep hearing about down in New York City.”

Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,C-Lockport) also serves as the Chairman of the Assembly Minority Conference. He represents the 144th Assembly District which includes portions of Erie, Niagara and Orleans counties. He is a member of the Assembly Ways and Means and Transportation committees.