The New York State Association of Counties is asking the governor and Legislature to boost funding to reimburse counties and other local governments for the cost of maintaining and rebuilding local roads and bridges. The state has a five-year freeze on funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program—CHIPS—and Marchiselli state-federal matching program. The allocation has been $363 million for CHIPS and $39 million for Marchiselli since to 2008-09 fiscal year, while the cost of fuel, materials, labor and equipment has spiked, according to the Association of Counties.
The New York State County Highway Superintendents Association, a NYSAC affiliate, promoted the resolution, which was adopted at the Association of Counties’ recent fall conference. Eighty-seven percent of roads and 51 percent of the bridges are under the purview of local governments, the groups said. Forty-eight percent of vehicle mileage in New York is logged on local roads and bridges.
“We appreciate the actions taken by NYSAC that seek to highlight the broad challenges county highway departments face in fixing and preserving their vast local systems of roads and bridges that suffer from decades of neglect resulting from shortages in funding,” David Hartman, president of County Highway Superintendents Association and Yates County highway superintendent.
In addition to the resolution on CHIPS and Marcheselli funds, NYSAC adopted resolutions asking the state to establish a local bridge and culvert program and ensure adequate funding for the state’s Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund.
The11-year-old Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund spends roughly $3.5 billion a year, but more than one-third of it goes to salaries at the state Department of Motor Vehicles and snow and ice removal for the Department of Transportation. More money goes toward paying down debt than new capital projects. New York has $80 billion in unfunded infrastructure repairs over the next 20 years.
”Having a modern system of roads and bridges in New York State must be a priority for elected State leaders,” Stephen Acquario, NYSAC’s executive director, said in a statement. “Increasing investment in our transportation infrastructure will ensure the continued safety of the motoring public and position New York to be a competitive state for economic development and job creation.”