Assemblywoman Melissa Miller, along with a bipartisan group of state legislators, has united with a statewide coalition of local leaders and county and town highway superintendents to call upon the governor for increased support for local roads, culverts and bridges in New York. The coalition is calling for an $85 million increase in state aid for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) in addition to the restoration of another $65 million for the “Extreme Weather Recovery” allocation, which was passed last year but not present in the governor’s proposed 2018-2019 State Budget.
“Whether you drive, take a cab or use public transportation, we all use the roadways of New York in one way or another,” said Miller. “New York’s roadways take us to work, doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, visits to friends and our children to school. They need our attention to ensure we all get where we need to go in a safe and efficient manner. By not keeping these roadways, bridges and culverts in tip-top shape, we are costing ourselves money. We need to continue to work together, across party lines, to make sure our local roads and bridges are well maintained so we can drive with peace of mind.”
According to TRIP, a national transportation research group, unmaintained roadways cost New Yorkers nearly $25 billion a year, around $2,300 per the average driver, in fuel costs, lost time, vehicle repairs and other expenses.
In the letter sent to the governor, the coalition highlighted the seriousness of recognizing “that local governments continue to struggle to address budgetary demands in the face of the state-imposed property tax cap and freeze, rising pension and health care costs, unfunded state mandates, and stagnant Aid to Municipalities (AIM). This clearly demonstrates the incredible challenge facing our local municipalities to meet the critical investment level needed to maintain and improve local roads, bridges, and culverts. A stronger state-local partnership is the only answer.”