First Funding Hike for Local Highways in Five Years; Investments to Help Create Jobs
The State Senate started passing major budget bills Sunday, including a plan to invest hundreds of millions of dollars for critical road and bridge construction projects across Central and Northern New York, and including the first increase in five years in state funding for local highway maintenance and repairs.
The transportation budget bill (S.2604-E) includes a $75 million increase in funding under the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs), which funds projects on local roads across the region.
Separately, the budget bills include $3.4 billion in funding for state and federally funded highway projects, including at least $150.2 million for specific projects in the region that includes Oswego County, and $152.5 million for projects in the region that includes Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties.
“Investing in critical road and bridge repairs, construction and improvements not only helps make our economy stronger, but also supports tens of thousands of good jobs in design and construction and maintenance that we need right now,” Senator Ritchie said.
“I am especially pleased that we are able to provide the first increase in funding for local highways in over five years,” Senator Ritchie said. “This additional funding will go far in helping our local towns, villages and counties with highway work that’s needed to keep people and goods moving, and our economy growing stronger.”
A recent study found that as many as 32 percent of bridges and 40 percent of roadways across the state are in urgent need of repair, and state funding for local highway repair, construction and maintenance have not kept pace with inflation.
Northern New York projects eligible for funding under the budget bills approved Sunday range from a $5.73 million reconstruction of Patterson Street in Ogdensburg beginning this Spring, and $3.46 million for railroad bridge repairs on Watertown’s Arsenal Street next year, to $910,000 for Alexandria Bay’s Riverwalk project.
In Oswego County, projects include over $5 million for two intersection improvements on Rt. 481, to several bridge rehabilitation projects in Oswego, and $670,000 for Pulaski’s Salmon River Greenway trail.
The Senate started work on major budget bills Sunday, and plans to continue voting on bills over several days this week, with an eye to adopting the third on-time state budget in as many years. The Assembly is expected back at the Capitol to pass the bills later this week.