Montesano: We Need To Support Our Local Roads

Many supporters from around the state advocated for increased funding for New York’s infrastructure at today’s press conference.

Today, Assemblyman Michael Montesano (R,C,I-Glen Head) attended a bipartisan event calling for increased state funding for local roads, bridges and highways. The event generated an overwhelming amount of support from the 114 state legislators, county and town highway superintendents, and road workers who participated.

Montesano is calling for an increase in state funding for the Consolidated Local Street & Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) of $200 million for a total of $638.1 million in this year’s state budget. Montesano and his colleagues are also requesting a new, five-year, $500 million allotment to undertake statewide bridge improvement projects. The selected bridges would be chosen locally.

“It is imperative that this year’s budget delivers appropriate funding for much-needed infrastructure improvements on Long Island and all across the state,” said Montesano. “Many reports have revealed that deteriorating road conditions result in increased property taxes and a decrease in New York’s economy and safety of travelers. These results are just not acceptable. We must continue to fight for funding to fix our roads and bridges without having to raise property taxes.”

Montesano also noted that Gov. Cuomo has chosen to play hardball with the 2015-2016 Executive Budget by proposing a zero percent increase in funding for local roads and eliminating the winter recovery allocation. The proposed funding would maintain the current allotment of $438.1 million.

“It is inconceivable that the governor has not prioritized increasing funding for local infrastructure,” said Montesano. “The winter weather already has severely damaged our local roads and bridges and has troubled many members of local government and the community. We desperately need an increase in funds to ensure vital repairs are made and that our roads are safe for all travelers.”

In 2013, a study conducted by the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways, Inc. reported that to prevent local roads and bridges from becoming deficient, New York must invest an additional $1.3 billion per year into infrastructure repairs. The state comptroller has also announced that 32 percent of New York’s local bridges are deficient, while 40 percent of local roads rate fair or poor. TRIP, a national transportation advocacy group, has predicted that the average driver spends roughly $2,300 annually in lost time, fuel costs, vehicle repairs, and other expenses due to countless damaged roads in New York State.