Highway Superintendent and Public Works Commissioner Jay Card Jr. is in Albany this week joining lobbying efforts aimed at securing more aid for infrastructure maintenance and repair.
He and fellow municipal colleagues at the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association “Local Roads Matter!” event at the Hilton Hotel in the state capital are seeking:
• A $150 million increase in Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) funding
• A $50 million increase in the local share of a state program called “BRIDGE NY”
• More BRIDGE NY funding for culverts
Last year, more than 100 legislators advocated for an increase in CHIPS funding levels, but no increases were in the budget.
Both the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association and the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways are requesting an annual increase of $150,000 to improve local transportation systems.
The increase would bring the fund to $588 million this year, Mr. Card said.
BRIDGE NY directs $100 million annually for local bridge and culvert projects and the two organizations are asking for a $50 million increase each year starting with the 2017-18 budget to better reflect the need for local bridge and culvert rehabilitation, Mr. Card said.
PAVE NY directs $100 million a year to local governments through a formula similar to the one used by CHIPS and the two organizations are seeking continuation of that funding.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal increases the Department of Transportation’s capital budget by $1.16 billion, but spending remains flat for local roads, bridges and culverts, Mr. Card said.
The governor’s budget directs $855 million, nearly three quarters of the new funds, to three New York City projects, he said. If that budget stands, the three city projects will receive more funding over the next four years than the PAVE NY and BRIDGE NY programs that distribute money to 87 percent of roads and 50 percent of bridges in the state, he said.
“A $200 million increase in funding for local roads, bridges and culverts could result in up to 5,600 highway construction-related jobs,” Mr. Card said.