Ashby: Local Roads Are Essential, Deserve Full Funding

Sen. Daphne Jordan and Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R,C,I-Castleton) at the “Local Roads Are Essential” press conference on March 3, 2021.

Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R,C,I-Castleton) joined colleagues in issuing a letter to the governor and legislative leaders to demand the full funding of critical programs utilized to maintain our local roads and bridges.

“Local roads are essential,” said Ashby. “Upstate New York deserves its fair share of funding so we can properly maintain safe roads and bridges for our communities. For too long, our governor and his fellow downstate leaders have emphasized spending on large downstate pet projects, such as the $1.3 billion rebuilding of Penn Station and NYC’s subway system, at the expense of our Upstate roads and bridges. Our local highway departments deal with yearly funding cuts while our aged infrastructure continues to crumble. This is unacceptable and can go on no longer.”

Local governments maintain 87 percent of the roads and about half of the 18,000 bridges in the state – despite this, Upstate receives less than half of the funding than that of the NYC based MTA. Furthermore, the State has withheld $120 million of promised funding from last year’s budget that was earmarked to rebuild and maintain local roads and bridges.

Should the state receive more than $6 billion in federal aid, the legislators are advocating for the full restoration of the withheld 2020-21 funds, an increase to CHIPS to $588 million, an increase to the Emergency Winter Recovery funds to $100 million, and the doubling of the PAVE-NY and BRIDGE-NY to $200 million each. If the state receives only $6 billion, they are pushing for the restoration of 2020-21 funds and ensuring current levels of funding are protected.