FALCONER – Congressman Tom Reed is touting the $13.5 billion investment in highways programs in New York State under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that passed late last year.
Reed was one of 13 House Republicans who voted for the bill, which he says he was proud to do, as the results of it will be seen locally in Chautauqua County.
“I’m proud to have supported that bill because it was ten years in the making,” explains Reed. “Ten years of working across the aisle, coming up with a compromise position that really promoted America’s infrastructure.”
County Executive PJ Wendell joined Reed in Falconer on Friday to discuss the investments, including the 552 miles of road, 308 bridges, and 258 culverts in Chautauqua County that will benefit from the bill.
“Along with this infrastructure comes the economic growth behind it. Right now in Stow, we need to bring in water and sewer, and we know that bringing those two infrastructure pieces in will develop into more economy,” says Wendell. “Hotels, conference centers, and the like… So allowing the infrastructure projects to continue and to blossom and expand, it expands our economy and it brings more businesses and more enterprise and opportunity here for Chautauqua County.”
The funding is vital to the area, according to Chairman of the Chautauqua County Legislature, Pierre Chagnon.
“When we look at our infrastructure in Chautauqua County, we have infrastructure that has been in place for, in some cases, two hundred years. The maintenance, the continuation of that infrastructure requires funding on an ongoing basis. And this funding will allow us to address the deficiencies and needs of much of that infrastructure that is already in place.”
While the funding will improve infrastructure, business leaders like Daniel Heitzenrater the President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce says it will positively impact businesses too.
“If you think about nationwide, all of the products that are produced here in Chautauqua County, and then shipped across the country. Even the funding not being invested here in Chautauqua County in our infrastructure but is being invested elsewhere is critical because those products we’re producing here and shipping out need to have a smooth transit to wherever they’re going,” says Heitzenrater. “And then those supplies for businesses, maybe that aren’t producing but are using our items in everyday business, that needs to get here as well.”
Applications are now open for various entities to request funding, with Congressmen Reed saying that the money is ready and available.
Wendell says funding for Chautauqua and Findley Lake Sewage systems is part of the plan to fix a forty-year agricultural issue as well as improving the municipal water systems in many areas.