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State will increase highway funding

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 March 2013 at 12:00 am
Municipality 2012-13 CHIPS 2013-14 CHIPS Increase
Orleans County $1,074,237 $1,289,363 $215,125
Albion (town) $47,867 $61,037 $13,170
Barre $119,891 $153,851 $33,959
Carlton $96,236 $122,806 $26,570
Clarendon $82,748 $105,986 $23,237
Gaines $31,468 $40,103 $8,635
Kendall $52,452 $66,309 $13,856
Murray $56,473 $72,019 $15,546
Ridgeway $91,680 $117,136 $25,455
Shelby $87,085 $111,560 $24,475
Yates $69,554 $88,266 $18,711
Albion (village) $78,686 $99,645 $20,959
Holley $21,400 $26,883 $5,483
Lyndonville $13,706 $17,341 $3,635
Medina $109,669 $137,848 $28,179
Total for all $2,033,158 $2,510,161 $477,002

 

For five years Ed Morgan and other highway superintendents watched the money for road and bridge repairs dwindle in their communities.

The state didn’t increase its share for municipal road and bridge work since the 2008-09 budget. However, the cost of fuel, asphalt and other materials went up, resulting in less highway work on local roads.

“We have been getting more and more desperate,” said Morgan, the Murray highway superintendent.

But that will change with the new state budget, which gives local governments 20.6 percent more state-wide in road maintenance money. State legislators and Gov. Cuomo agreed to a $75 million increase in Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program, boosting the CHIPS money from $363 million to $438 million.

In Orleans County, the highway funds will go up 23.5 percent, from $2,033,158 to $2,510,161.

“It gives us about 25 percent more money so we can now do 25 percent more work,” Morgan said.

The money doesn’t go quite as far as it used to because of the rising fuel and road material costs, he said.

Morgan and other highway superintendents showed up in mass in Albany earlier this month, lobbying for the CHIPS increase. He said the highway leaders will keep pressing the case in the future. He wants to see the state to gradually increase the CHIPS each year, rather than going years with the same funding level.

Towns, villages and counties are limited in their ability to make up for frozen state aid with local dollars because the state imposed a property tax cap on localities. That cap aims to prevent property taxes from going up more than 2 percent a year. That has been a challenge locally, Morgan noted, when the state didn’t increase its share for road work.

Cuomo praised the CHIPS funding boost in announcement on March 26.

“This budget is about jobs, jobs, jobs, and by investing in rebuilding our state’s transportation infrastructure we are helping to grow local economies and create jobs in all corners of the state,” he said. “During these difficult fiscal times, this $75 million increase in CHIPS funding is a big victory for our state’s localities that will be able to use these much-needed funds to make repairs to local highways, bridges, and roads, and at the same time support job growth and economic development in their communities.”