County Highway Superintendents Welcome New Local Road and Bridge Funding!
Albany, NY July 6, 2016
County highway superintendents and public works commissioners throughout the state are cheering state funding increases for replacing, rehabilitating, paving and maintaining state and local roads and bridges.
"With the establishment of two new programs, PAVE NY and BRIDGE NY, the state is now directing enhanced funding specifically to local transportation projects," said Tracy J. Eldridge, President of the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association. "Under these programs, hundreds of millions of capital dollars will be available for local governments to address their most pressing road and bridge needs in a cost effective way," Eldridge stated.
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. Funding levels over the years have not kept up with the demands of an ailing local transportation system.
Eldridge, who is also the Superintendent of Highways for Hamilton County, reported that PAVE NY will provide $200 million per year for the next four years, half of which will go to local governments primarily to pave additional road mileage. BRIDGE NY is also a $200 million per year program, with $100 million of this funding going to municipal governments to replace, rehabilitate and maintain vital local bridges and culverts. This new funding is in addition to what municipalities receive from the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS).
"CHIPS is the financial lifeblood of any local highway department, this year distributing a total of $438 million through a formula to every local government in the state," Eldridge explained. "While providing a reliable base amount of state funding for local roads and bridges, CHIPS funds fall short of what is needed to keep the locally-owned transportation system from falling further into a state of disrepair. The new PAVE NY and BRIDGE NY money was desperately needed and will certainly help improve our vast system of highways, bridges and culverts to standards expected by the traveling public," Eldridge said.
"We commend Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and their legislative colleagues, particularly Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (Corning) and Senator Tom O'Mara (Big Flats) who help lead the charge for securing funding increases in the state budget for vital local transportation projects," Eldridge said. "The traveling public who rely on a transportation system that is highly functional, safe and in good condition will now begin to see the improvements and the employment opportunities for local contractors and consultants this funding will support," Eldridge concluded.