Assemblymember Monica Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced that the Assembly’s 2017-18 state budget proposal includes vital economic development funding and infrastructure investments to improve local roads, bridges, and water systems.
Investing in our infrastructure
“Our network of roads, bridges, and water mains are in dire need of repair,” said Wallace. “Investing in improvements ensures that Western New York continues to be a great place to live and work.”
The Assembly’s proposal provides $488 million in funding for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS). CHIPS provides essential funding for roads and bridges throughout the state that are typically maintained by local highway departments. Insufficient funding and the sheer volume of repairs needed have led many roads to fall into disrepair, noted Wallace.
Furthermore, the Assembly proposal strengthens the Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017, to assist municipalities in improving water quality. The budget proposal includes $2 billion in funding to upgrade water and sewer systems.
“Our region has struggled to keep its waterways free from contamination due to eroding infrastructure and cuts to maintenance funds,” said Wallace. “We need this critical funding to upgrade and clean our water systems for our environment and for the health and safety of our communities.”
Buffalo Billion II
The Assembly’s proposal also includes $500 million in economic development funding for the second phase of the Buffalo Billion. This initiative includes funding for revitalization efforts, workforce development, and manufacturing growth.
“We have made considerable progress in recent years, and we need to continue to revitalize our local economy in Western New York,” Wallace said. “These investments are crucial to attracting new businesses and creating new jobs right here in our community.”
Combatting Zombie Properties
Additionally, the Assembly budget proposal allocates $10 million for the New York State Attorney General’s Foreclosure Prevention Services Network. This funding will help families avoid foreclosure and allow them to stay in their homes.
“In addition to displacing families, foreclosures create zombie properties that are unsightly, present safety concerns, and cause surrounding home values to decrease. Reducing foreclosures will help avoid creating new zombie homes and the negative impact they bring.”
Our communities are no stranger to the economic consequences of zombie properties,” Wallace said. “This crucial funding will help families stay in their home and avoid the inevitable uptick in crime and decrease in surrounding property values that come when a home becomes vacant.”