The action comes after several years of effort and leadership together with Assemblyman Phil Palmesano. We’ve partnered with local highway superintendents and other local officials from throughout New York over the past several years to lead the fight in the Legislature for fairer and stronger state support for local transportation infrastructure.
At a news conference in Corning last fall, Senator O’Mara stressed the importance of the “Local Roads Matter” campaign to fight for fair and equitable funding for local roads and bridges.
These efforts have helped increase CHIPS funding by $125 million from 2013 to 2015.
For the first time since 2010, this year there will be parity in funding between the five-year state Department of Transportation (DOT) and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) capital plans.
The new budget also provides $438 million in direct funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) while an additional $400 million ($100 million a year over four years) of funding for local roads will also be allocated through the CHIPS funding formula from a newly established PAVE-NY program for local roads.
Every additional dollar of state support means a dollar less that our local property taxpayers have to pay.
Earlier this year, in a joint statement, Assemblyman Palmesano and I said, “We’ve been working hard on this, session after session, since 2013 and so it’s very gratifying that this year’s state budget begins to take the kind of action that’s absolutely needed for local transportation infrastructure. It will make a significant difference for our local governments, local economies, local property taxpayers and motorist safety locally and statewide. This year’s budget marks an important move forward, we’ll keep working and building on it.”
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.
Since 2013, Senator O’Mara and Assemblyman Palmesano have built an ever-growing, bipartisan coalition of legislative colleagues, local leaders and local highway superintendents from every corner of New York State to rally support at the Capitol for local roads and bridges.
Consequently, our annual “Local Roads Matter” campaign keeps making the case for an even stronger state commitment to local roads, bridges and culverts. With the property tax cap and shrinking local revenues, CHIPS funding is absolutely critical to helping local communities and taxpayers.
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. A national transportation advocacy group, TRIP, has estimated that deteriorating roads cost New York motorists nearly an additional $25 billion annually – nearly $2,300 for the average driver in some areas — in lost time, fuel costs, vehicle repairs and other expenses.