Albany, NY, March 12, 2021—The New York State County Highway Superintendents Association (NYSCHSA) commended the members of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) for adopting resolutions urging restoration of state funding for counties to maintain their local transportation infrastructure.
“At a time when counties are facing great financial stress due to the pandemic, cuts and withholds in vital state aid programs are compounding the difficulties of meeting vital local services. This includes the critical needs of our aging and ailing roads, bridges and culverts,” said NYSCHSA President Joseph Wisinski.
The enacted 2020-2021 State Budget appropriated a total of $603 million for CHIPS, PAVE-NY, and Extreme Winter Recovery (EWR) for essential local transportation projects. But the state withheld $120.6 million (20%) of this funding needed to maintain local roads, bridges, culverts, and other essential transportation infrastructure. Further, the Governors Executive Budget proposal cuts $65 million of EWR funding for the next fiscal year.
NYSAC, which represents thousands of elected and appointed county officials throughout the state, approved pro-transportation funding resolutions at the NYSAC Legislative Conference held virtually over the last few weeks.
“We commend our county leaders who are stepping up to support restoring state funding for our local community highway departments”, stated Wisinski, who is also Superintendent of Highways for Madison County. “We are fortunate to have a strong partnership with NYSAC to deliver a united call for enhanced state investments to repair, reconstruct and modernize our local transportation infrastructure.”
Among the resolutions adopted by NYSAC were:
- Resolution Urging Full Restoration of Funding Cuts for Local Road, Bridge and Culvert Programs and Timely Release of Future Funding Allocations to restore $120.6 million to local highway department capital budgets.
- Resolution Urging the Enactment of an Increase in the Statutory CHIPS Bidding Threshold as Part of the State Budget to provide increase flexibility to counties to reduce costs and provide savings to taxpayers.
Local roads and bridges account for 87% of the roads, 51% of the bridges and 48% of the vehicle mileage traveled in New York State and are an essential and indispensable part of the overall transportation infrastructure. Safe and efficient highway infrastructure is essential for trade, economic development and revitalization, our schools, businesses, health and hospital facilities, emergency responders, and the traveling public. A well maintained and highly functional transportations system ensures long-term economic revitalization and mobility for the motoring public, especially for the essential workers who we all depend on to get to their jobs safely.
NYSAC resolutions become the Association’s policy positions and agenda going forward and are transmitted to the Governor, State Legislators and appropriate Federal officials to inform them about the priorities of county government.
“Our county highway superintendents association support these resolutions,” Wisinski said. “We applaud NYSAC for adopting these local transportation funding policies as a part of their 2021 legislative agenda. Restoring these cuts and the loss of future EWR funds is a priority and we continue to urge our state elected officials to commit to full restorations as the state budget deliberations continue,” Wisinski concluded.