Palmesano/O’Mara/Giglio CHIPS/Highway Press Conference

O’Mara and Palmesano CHIPS Event

CHIPS_Palmesano_podium

March 6, 2014

Albany, NY— About 100 state legislators, led by
Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano
(R,C,I-Corning), today joined county and town highway superintendents and
other local leaders from across New York to call for increased state
support for local roads and bridges. O’Mara, Palmesano and other state
legislators and local leaders called for a $50-million increase in CHIPS
funding, to $488.1 million, in the final 2014-15 state budget. They’re
also seeking the creation of a new, multi-year, $200-million dedicated
state fund to undertake locally designated bridge and culvert improvement
projects statewide.

“We’re seeing report after report deliver the message that the condition of
local roads and bridges is critical, and getting worse,” O’Mara and
Palmesano said in a joint statement. “We need a stronger state commitment
to our local transportation infrastructure. Local roads and bridges, in
every region of New York State, are community and economic lifelines, but
they’re at risk from a severe lack of adequate, dedicated funding. State
investment in the improvement and upkeep of local roads and bridges is a
wise use of taxpayer dollars. It’s an investment in economic growth, job
creation, property tax relief and motorist safety.”

The lawmakers are again urging Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative
leaders to increase CHIPS funding, as well as begin a new, multi-year
funding program dedicated to local bridges and culverts. Cuomo has
proposed to maintain this year’s CHIPS funding at last year’s level of
$438.1 million.

They pointed to reports showing the deteriorating condition of local roads
and bridges and the impact the decline has on the economy, high property
taxes and motorist safety.

A 2013 study conducted by the town highway superintendents association
reported that New York needs to invest an additional $1.3 billion per year
on local roads and bridges to prevent them from becoming deficient. An
earlier report from the state comptroller called 32% of New York’s local
bridges deficient and 40% of local roads fair or poor, and getting worse.
Just last week, a national transportation advocacy group, TRIP, said that
deteriorating roads cost the average driver in New York State roughly
$1,600 annually in lost time, fuel costs, vehicle repairs and other
expenses.

O’Mara and Palmesano are being joined by nearly 100 other senators and
Assembly members [see accompanying list]. They’re highlighting statistics
showing that local roads and bridges account for 87% of the roads, 52% of
the bridges, and 48% of the vehicle mileage logged in New York State.

The bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has also signed a letter to the
governor, legislative leaders and top Cuomo administration officials, part
of which reads, “We believe it’s the right time to transform this critical
sector of the state-local partnership in the ways we have outlined. The
commitment and investments we are seeking to build on last year’s
foundation will further solidify our strong belief that ‘local roads
matter.’ This newfound state commitment and investment will finally move
us toward the fully safe and reliable local infrastructure we envision, and
serve as a true catalyst for future economic development and job creation
in our local communities.”