March 9, 2022
ALBANY, NY – State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats), Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning), and more than 60 state Senators and members of the Assembly joined the call from county and town highway superintendents and other local leaders from throughout New York for increased state support for local roads, bridges, and culverts.
In a joint statement, O’Mara and Palmesano said, “We have always stood together with New York’s county and town highway superintendents, and local leaders, and we will continue to do everything we can to raise awareness and call for legislative support. Local roads are essential to New York’s future. We have an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen this state’s commitment. State investment in local transportation infrastructure is a fundamental responsibility and critical to the strength and success of local communities, economies, environments, governments, and taxpayers.”
Since 2013, O’Mara and Palmesano have organized legislative colleagues to get behind the effort and raise awareness of the need.
The coalition notes that for the past ten years, largely through a series of “Extreme Winter Recovery” (EWR) allocations distributed through the state’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) funding formula, and together with the PAVE-NY and BRIDGE-NY programs established in 2016, important increased state support has been provided for New York’s counties, cities, towns, and villages.
In her 2022-2023 Executive budget, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a $32.8 billion, five-year DOT Capital Plan. The proposed Executive Budget holds baseline funding for CHIPS, EWR, and PAVE-NY at current year levels. The governor’s plan increases BRIDGE-NY funding by $100 million and creates a new “Operation Pave Our Potholes” (POP) program that will provide an additional $100 million in 2022-2023.
While welcoming the governor’s commitment to infrastructure investment in the new state budget, the Local Roads Are Essential advocates are calling on New York to strengthen its commitment to local transportation beyond Hochul’s proposals by the following four actions:
1.) increasing the base funding level for the CHIPS program by $250 million to a total of $788 million;
2.) increasing EWR funding by $50 million to $150 million;
3.) distributing the $100 million proposed for the new “Pave Our Potholes” program utilizing the existing CHIPS/EWR aid formula to ensure equity and fairness; and
4.) increasing the five-year, DOT Capital Plan to $44.1 billion, an $11.3-billion increase.