Leader Barclay, Senator Walczyk Announce Law to Assist Town of Lorraine & Tug Hill Region

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C-Pulaski) and Sen. Mark Walczyk announced the signing of their bill to authorize the Town of Lorraine in Jefferson County to establish minimum maintenance roads. The designation will provide town highway officials the ability to reduce road maintenance costs for low-volume roads and focus primarily on the maintenance of roads servicing larger numbers of residents.

“This legislation is dedicated to bolstering farm and forest land maintenance by giving the Town of Lorraine the authority to focus snow and ice removal to specific, more highly trafficked areas. Municipalities need as much flexibility as possible when prioritizing their infrastructure needs and maintenance. This bill will help deliver cost savings for the area. I want to thank Sen. Walczyk for his partnership on this,” said Leader Barclay.

“The Town of Lorriane now has the ability to be more strategic with their resources to better serve the people they represent.Officials can focus their time and attention on roads that are more heavily traveled,” said Senator Mark Walczyk. “I’m proud to have worked with Leader Barclay to get this passed and I’d like to thank the Governor for signing this into law.The taxpayers of Lorraine are the real winners.” 

Many roads in rural areas experience an extremely low volume of traffic. However, towns are required to maintain little-used roads to state specifications even if it does not lead to a house, camp, or business. As a result, local resources and taxpayer dollars are often spent unnecessarily. Establishing a local minimum maintenance road law presents an opportunity for a municipality to save money by limiting their requirements.

Established in 1990, the New York State Local Roads Research and Coordination Council has defined the standards for low-volume road classification and provided towns across the state a uniform standard to adopt local road designations.

Katie Malinowski, Executive Director of the Tug Hill Local Government Conference, said, “On behalf of the town of Lorraine and the entire Tug Hill region, the Tug Hill Commission thanks Minority Leader Barclay, Senator Walczyk, and Governor Hochul for their support of this legislation. Lorraine now has state authority to designate low volume roads and minimum maintenance roads, which up until now has only been accomplished by towns across New York State under their home rule authority. The town will benefit by being able to use their limited highway maintenance resources wisely; recreationists will benefit by enjoying cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog mushing and snowmobiling on Lorraine’s minimum maintenance roads; and New York State will benefit by preventing conversion of farmland and forestland to other uses, as recommended in the state’s Climate Action Plan of 2022.”

The Town of Lorraine is located in the Tug Hill Region, which is renowned for its forestry, farming and outdoor recreation. There are several town roads that provide access to the Winona State Forest, home to more than 30 miles of cross-country ski trails and 8.7 miles of snowmobile trails.