Local Roads, Economy At Risk

James L. Seward

February 09, 2009

“The governor’s budget proposal cuts CHIPs (Consolidated Highway Improvement Program) aid substantially, a move that will cripple many upstate municipalities,” said Seward. “Record high oil and blacktop costs last year forced many highway officials to make major reductions in their road repair plans. An aid cut like the one proposed by the governor will mean even fewer projects can be completed this year. This compromises the safety and economy of the upstate region.”

Overall the governor’s budget proposal would reduce CHIPs funding from $363.1 million (08-09) to $250.9 million (09-10). On average, towns, villages, cities, and counties in the 51st district would see aid slashed by 35.6 percent. In New York City, CHIPs funding would be reduced by just 20.8 percent.

“Highways are vital to the upstate economy, and are one of the first things manufacturers and other businesses consider when looking at a location,” stated Seward. “We need to make sure safe, well maintained roads are available in order to increase upstate jobs. Once again the downstate Democrats in charge in Albany fail to recognize this critical fact.”

“These proposed cuts will put tremendous pressure on property taxes. Without this state aid, local officials will be forced to raise taxes in order to fix roads in dire need of repair,” Seward said.

“The state budget does need to be streamlined to close the state’s deficit, but we can’t simply shift costs to local governments,” Seward continued. “Heightened welfare and Medicaid fraud detection, consolidation of state authorities and agencies, and commonsense budget cuts need to be the first step in the process.”

Seward noted that the governor tried to reduce the CHIPs program last year, but the senate successfully fought to restore, and even increase CHIPs local road aid.

“Properly maintained roads are vital to our upstate economy and quality of life. The fight is not over, and I will be working to reverse this irresponsible proposal from the governor,” concluded Seward.

Proposed Reduction In CHIPs Aid By County

Chenango             27.39%

Cortland               30.78%            

Greene                 29.88%

Herkimer              32.62%

Otsego                 30.61%

Schoharie             31.36%

Tompkins             30.05%