Legislature hears testimony in a budget hearing on transportation

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ALBANY, NY (WENY) — On the first official day of budget hearings, lawmakers discussed Gov. Hochul’s state budget proposals on transportation–targeting investments toward New York’s roads, bridges, airports, rail facilities, transit systems, and ports.

Some lawmakers feel New York’s roads and bridges, funded through the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) should be a priority in the legislature during these budget talks.

“Our local roads and bridges through the CHIPS program is the lifeblood of our upstate transportation network and we need to make sure we’re providing resources to take care of our local municipalities,” said Assembly Member Phil Palmesano (R-Corning).

The governor’s budget proposes maintaining funding for CHIPS at $577.8 million–the same level as last year. Funding also remained the same for highway aid and local bridge and road repair programs including Pave Our Potholes program at $100 million, PAVE NY at $150 million, and Bridge NY at $200 million.

David Miller, President of the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways, said the price of construction materials has increased 25 percent over the past two years and they need more funding.

“There’s just not enough. And we don’t want to get into a situation where these bridges start failing and we got to shut them down and detour people around,” he said. “Eighty-seven percent of those roads out there are locally owned by villages and towns and counties. And for us to keep up with eighty-seven percent, we need a little bigger piece of the pie.”

Miller added they are asking for an additional $200 million for CHIPS and an additional $70 million for extreme weather recovery.

And without an increase in funding, Kevin Rooney, President of the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association, said there could be consequences for local road and bridge repair programs.

“If we don’t have some more funding, we’re going to have to cut our programs, every one of us. These are the local programs, so the towns, the counties, the villages will all have to do something and work a little harder to get our work done,” Rooney said.


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