ALBANY, NY—Senator Sue Serino (R, C, I—Hyde Park) continued her fight for improved infrastructure today by joining a mass of the state’s county and town highway superintendents, a bipartisan group of legislators and local leaders at a press conference in Albany calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo make its funding a priority.
“If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, an investment in our roads and bridges is an investment in our economy, in our safety, and in our future,” said Senator Sue Serino. “We cannot afford to wait when it comes to improving our state’s roads, bridges, and culverts and today we call upon the Governor and our colleagues in both houses to make our infrastructure a priority in this year’s budget.”
Specifically, the group is pushing for an increase in state funding for local roads, bridges and culverts through the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and the creation of a new, four-year “State Aid to Local Bridge and Culvert Program.”
Further, the group called for parity in funding for the statewide five-year DOT Capital Plan and the five-year MTA Capital Plan, an issue the Senator has been championing since December when she was joined at a press conference in Dutchess County by local officials, residents, and Rebuild NY Now to highlight the importance of improving roads and bridges in her district.
At the time, Serino pointed out that in the 1990’s, a Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund was created for our state transportation capital needs. It was agreed then that a portion of the state’s gas tax and auto fees would go to the Dedicated Mass Transit Trust Fund, as long as the two funds were negotiated simultaneously and there would be “parity” in funding levels.
In 2009-10, when the State was under the control of one-party governance, New York City interests dominated state government policy and funding decisions. It was at that time that the State enacted an MTA five-year capital plan without funding a plan for the State’s roads and bridges. Since that time, it is estimated that capital funding for the MTA has outpaced an investment in the State’s roads and bridges by more than $3 billion. The Governor’s current five-year transportation proposal increases this difference by $6 billion.
“Local roads matter, plain and simple, and the people of Dutchess and Putnam Counties are tired of taking a back seat to the needs of the MTA,” Serino continued. “The Governor’s proposal to fund the MTA Capital Plan at $26 billion and the Department of Transportation’s at only $20 billion does a severe disservice the communities beyond New York City. It is high time that our State makes its infrastructure a priority and I urge my colleagues in both Houses to do so.”