Local Roads Rally Called Off Due To Weather, But Message Gets Through

March 12, 2018

Recently, a group of 142 state legislators, organized by State Senator Tom O’Mara (R, Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R, Corning), joined a statewide coalition of county and town highway superintendents and other local leaders to call for increased state support for local roads, bridges and culverts. About 700 local highway superintendents and highway department employees representing nearly every region of New York State came to Albany as part of the annual “Local Roads Matter” advocacy campaign.

O’Mara, Palmesano and other state legislators are joining “Local Roads Matter” representatives, and other local leaders, this year to call for increasing state base aid for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) by $85 million to a total of $523 million. They are also seeking the restoration of a $65-million “Extreme Winter Recovery” allocation enacted last year but not included in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2018-2019 state budget. Combined, this $150-million increase would bring total CHIPS aid in 2018-19 to $588.1 million.

In a February 28 letter to Cuomo and legislative leaders, O’Mara, Palmesano and their Senate and Assembly colleagues wrote, “We believe it is critically important to build on our past successes and renew our commitment to addressing the tremendous, unmet needs and challenges to maintain local roads, bridges, and culverts effectively in every region of New York State… This level of
state assistance, at a minimum, has become central to providing the critical flexibility and funding that localities need to help meet their growing and challenging infrastructure demands.” O’Mara and Palmesano say that that aid percentage increases to this issue, since 2012, have ranged from 50% to 55%.

Mike Elmendorf, President and CEO of the Associated General Contractors of New York State, said, “It’s pothole season in New York—and it sure is a bumpier crop this year. As they attempt to dodge potholes on streets starting to resemble the surface of the moon, it is starkly evident to New Yorkers all across the state that our infrastructure is failing. Despite some recent progress, the level of investment in our infrastructure remains inadequate to meet our growing needs. As a result, our roads are crumbling and our bridges are deteriorating. I commend Senator O’Mara, Assemblyman Palmesano and their colleagues for their continued leadership on this critical issue and I am proud to stand with them in the fight for increased investment in our roads and bridges. The future of our communities and our economy depends on it.”