State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C, I - Schenectady) and his colleagues in the New York State Senate passed the Bridge and Road Investment and Dedicated Fund Guaranteed Enforcement Reform Act, also known as the BRIDGE Reform Act. The bill (S.1071) will ensure that the dedicated fund, originally enacted in 1991, will go towards rebuilding, replacing and reconditioning highways and bridges to improve the safety of drivers who travel them.
The dedicated fund now spends nearly three-quarters of its money on functions having nothing to do with improving bridges and highways, including operations at the Department of Motor Vehicles and routine snow and ice removal. By putting that funding back into repairs, more than $463 million would be added to road and bridge repair funds. The funds would be used to leverage additional monies for road and bridge projects.
Nearly 30% of New York's bridges are rated fair or poor, making their repair a priority as a matter of public safety. The bill phases out over five years the use of the Dedicated Fund for non-bridge and road expenses, and prohibits it from being used that way in the future.
The bill will be sent to the Assembly.