ALBANY, 03/08/23 – State Senator Peter Oberacker (R/C – Schenevus) today joined with legislators and highway superintendents from across the state at the Capitol calling for increased state funding for local highway improvements.
“Local roads and bridges, and the dedicated workers that maintain them, are essential to public safety and our economy,” said Senator Oberacker. “As a past chairman of the Otsego County Public Works Committee and a town supervisor, I understand how critical state funding is to our local governments when making decisions on road and bridge maintenance. As work on the state budget progresses, our upstate infrastructure must be a leading priority.”
Senator Oberacker and fellow legislators, along with the New York State Association of County Highway Superintendents (NYSCHSA) and the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways, Inc. (NYSAOTSOH) are calling for greater state investment in local transportation infrastructure.
“Construction costs continue to increase and state funding has failed to keep pace. Additionally, new state laws and mandates have made it even more costly for our local highway departments to make needed improvements. My rural senate district encompasses all or part of seven counties and I travel these roads every day - I can state emphatically that there are needs that must be addressed,” added Senator Oberacker.
Senator Oberacker notes that while the governor’s proposed 2023-2024 budget calls for the continuation of the state’s key local roads programs, funding is stagnant. Senator Oberacker and his fellow legislators charge that the governor has failed to recognize the impact of a 22% construction inflation rate and how the exorbitant, inflationary cost increases for fuel, asphalt, and steel are severely straining county and town transportation budgets.
“Even a modest increase in CHIPs funding would greatly help our local highway departments maintain and improve the roads we travel every day. Infrastructure funding needs to be spread throughout the state and parity for our region is a must,” added Senator Oberacker.
Senator Oberacker and the Local Roads are Essential advocates are calling on New York to strengthen support for local transportation by:
- Increasing the base funding level for CHIPS by $200 million to a total of $738 million;
- Increasing Extreme Winter Recovery funding by $70 million to $170 million;
- Increasing the CHIPS bidding threshold from $350,000 to $750,000; and
- Restoring the Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund (DHBTF) to its originally intended purpose as a dedicated, pay-as-you-go funding source for critical transportation repairs and capital projects.
“Every part of our economy depends on well-maintained highways. Strengthening the state’s investment in our upstate roads and bridges will help keep local property taxes in check, improve public safety, and grow jobs across the state,” Senator Oberacker concluded.