ALBANY, 03/06/19 -- State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) today joined a bipartisan group of state legislators along with county and town highway superintendents from across the state to call for increased state funding for local highway improvements.
“Quality roads and bridges are indispensable when it comes to improving our economy and making sure the motoring public is safe,” said Senator Seward. “I represent all or part of nine counties and travel our local highways regularly. I know firsthand the hard work our local highway crews perform, and I also recognize that road improvements are needed. While much of the focus at the Capitol has been on problems with the downstate MTA, we cannot overlook the needs of our local roads and bridges. Parity is needed and that means more funding must be directed to upstate needs – starting with our infrastructure.
“Local roads, bridges, and culverts are the foundation of our state’s infrastructure and the numbers bear that out. Every time you leave your house, chances are high that you are doing most of your traveling on a local road maintained by dedicated county, town, and village transportation workers. Motorist safety and economic vitality depend on the condition of these roads and the state must step up and fund this key component of our infrastructure.”
Local roads and bridges account for 87 percent of the roads, 52 percent of the bridges, and 48 percent of the vehicle mileage logged in New York State.
In a letter to Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders, Senator Seward and his senate and assembly colleagues called for:
- A $150 million increase in Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs) funding in the 2019-20 budget which would bring total state aid to $588 million;
- Restoring the $65 million “Extreme Winter Recovery” allocation slated for elimination in the governor’s 2019-20 budget proposal.
“One of the keys to attracting new employers to New York state is to make sure our infrastructure is ready to accommodate growth and we need to start with our local highways. By improving our long neglected highways and bridges we will be able to grow jobs across the state,” Seward added.