Assemblyman Chris Tague (R,C,I,Ref-Schoharie) joined concerned citizens, highway superintendents and town officials to call for increased investment in infrastructure through the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS). The program is responsible for repairing local roads and bridges through funds given to local municipalities.
Ive worked on highways and Ive been a town supervisor, Ive seen how hard these folks work and how much were letting them down, we need to increase our CHIPS funding across the board, theres no more time to talk about it, Tague said. The funding is absolutely essential for our towns and villages to maintain and repair the roads we rely on every day. Denying them the resources to keep our roads in working order is foolhardy and I am proud to join all these passionate people calling for greater investment in our roads.
Tague hosted a forum last year with the Assembly Minority Task Force on Critical Infrastructure and Transportation to discuss ways the Legislature can assist local leaders, highway superintendents and local governments in maintaining their roads and bridges. The findings relayed a critical lack of CHIPS funding and the task force calls for an increase of $100 million over 5 years. It also recommends a fix in the disparity in funding between downstates needs and upstates.
The task forces additional proposals are as follows:
- Ensure funding parity between the upcoming NYSDOT and MTA Five-Year Capital Programs;
- Increase CHIPS base aid by $150 million/year for five years and tie to CPI to account for inflation and increasing material costs;
- Enact legislation mandating that all funding for the DHBTF is to be used only for capital infrastructure, not for state operations or debt service payments;
- Expand support for the Clean Water Investment Act (CWIA) to ensure long-term commitment to water, sewer infrastructure;
- Establish a companion for the existing CHIPS program, offering financial assistance to local governments for drinking, storm and sewer water infrastructure, called the Water Infrastructure Investment Program (WIIPS);
- Continue, strengthen and improve PAVE-NY, EWR and BRIDGE NY in NYSDOT 2020-2024 Capital Program to help municipalities plan for improvements;
- Establish a CHIPS-like formula for culverts based on the length of culverts within the municipality;
- Require NYSDOT release a report each year detailing the condition of state-owned roads and bridges;
- Direct NYSDOT to develop a 20-30-year long-term transportation plan; and
- Require NYSDOT to submit its capital plan for approval.