NY ASSOCIATION OF COUNTY OFFICIALS CALLS FOR
STATE AID FOR AILING LOCAL ROADS, BRIDGES
Albany, NY—September 27, 2012—At its Annual Fall Conference, the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), which represents the thousands of elected and appointed county officials throughout the State, urged the Governor and State Legislators to increase funding for programs designed to reimburse counties and other local governments for part of the costs for maintaining, rehabilitating and reconstructing local roads and bridges.
The resolution is in response to the 5-year “freeze” in funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and the Marchiselli State-federal matching funds--the primary funding sources for the majority of local transportation projects. CHIPS funding has been stuck at $363 million and Marchiselli at $39 million since 2008-09 fiscal year.
The resolutions in support of increased State funding for local transportation projects adopted by NYSAC were promoted by the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association (NYSCHSA), an affiliate of NYSAC.
“We appreciate the actions taken by NYSAC that seek to highlight the broad challenges county highway departments face in fixing and preserving their vast local systems of roads and bridges that suffer from decades of neglect resulting from shortages in funding,“ said David Hartman, President of NYSCHSA and Yates County Superintendent of Highways.
Local roads and bridges account for 87% of the roads, 51% of the bridges and 48% of the vehicle mileage logged in New York State and are a vital and indispensable part of the overall transportation infrastructure. With the cost of fuel, materials, labor and equipment spiking over the past several years, funding levels have not kept up with the demands of an ailing local transportation system. Hartman said he is always encouraged when leading local government groups like NYSAC join in voicing their support for more State investment in local transportation infrastructure.
“Having a modern system of roads and bridges in New York State must be a priority for elected State leaders,” said Stephen Acquario, NYSAC Executive Director. “Increasing investment in our transportation infrastructure will ensure the continued safety of the motoring public and position New York to be a competitive state for economic development and job creation.”
NYSAC adopted three resolutions that call for increasing State funds for CHIPS and Marchiselli, establishing a State aid to local bridge and culvert program and reforming the State’s Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund to insure adequate levels of State aid to transportation in the future. NYSAC resolutions become the group’s policy positions and agenda going forward and are transmitted to the Governor and the Legislature to inform them as to the priorities of county government.
At this time, two different bills are moving through the legislature that seek to impose complete streets guidelines on transportation projects. Efforts have been made to amend these bill to reduce or eliminate their impact on local projects. The assembly bill is limited to DOT state projects and the Senate bill attempts to reduce the types of local projects that would be effected by language that limits the complete streets process to "facilities that are eligible for both federal and state funding and are subject to department of transportation oversight." The sponsor says that the intent is not to include 100% locally-funded projects (CHIPS) and only apply to larger, federally funded projects that are undertaken by the state DOT.
Gov. Paterson is instituting a funding freeze which impacts highway project funding.
A coalition of contracting groups vowed to file papers in state court calling on Governor Paterson to lift his funding freeze, which they contend threatens some 5,000 blue-collar jobs. The lawsuit threat came as fuming contractors blasted the embattled governor, who announced the unusual action Tuesday after failing to agree with lawmakers on how to close a $9.2 billion budget gap.
"Candidly, we believe this governor has lost his ability to make rational decisions," said Mark Herbst, executive director of the Long Island Contractors' Association.
Paterson's officials say the construction freeze could impact as many as 500 projects around the state.
This protest by the contractors will complement our letter writing campaign and help put significant pressure on legislators especially those from downstate to get money flowing for transportation projects as soon as possible.
We are asking the entire membership to contact legislators with letters and phone calls. The Town Superintendents are also planning to do the same. You can find a sample letter here.
Terrence Rice, President & Bruce W. Geiger, Legislative Representative
In 1909, a group of County Highway Superintendents met in Saratoga Springs, New York. Their intent: to form a close-knit organization that would support and inform its members and help them to do their jobs in a more efficient manner. Click here to read more.
The Continuing Education Consortium (CEC) was formed by the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association, Inc. (NYSCHSA) in the Spring of 2004 to provide accredited training and professional development programs to all industry professionals involved in the building and maintenance of New York's highways and bridges. Click here to read more.