Infrastructure Funding – A Bet For The Future

Reliable infrastructure is a necessity. Think about it: every day we travel our roads, highways and bridges to commute to work and get our children to school and other activities. Without well-maintained transportation infrastructure, those simple drives become more difficult and the delivery of goods and services communities need would slow or, worse, halt altogether. A standstill would be the worst case scenario, but as reports continue to surface about crumbling roads and bridges across New York, we must be proactive about our infrastructure needs with sufficient funding for repairs.
 
LOCAL ROADS MATTER
 
Local highway superintendents were in Albany last week advocating on behalf of their “Local Roads Matter” campaign. Throughout multiple discussions with highway superintendents, the common theme has been a call for increased state funding for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS).
 
Two years ago, I proudly supported an additional $75 million in funding for this program, a much-needed first step toward fixing deteriorating roads and bridges. Last year, state aid remained neutral but included the welcome addition of $40 million toward “Winter Recovery.” Unfortunately, this year’s Executive Budget proposal reverses course and removes the additional $40 million for “Winter Recovery” without a general CHIPS funding increase – poor timing considering the extremely harsh winter currently wreaking havoc on local roads.

Thankfully it’s not too late. The 2015-2016 State Budget presents an opportunity to fix the problem. I have joined more than 100 state legislators to call for a $200 million increase in state funding for CHIPS as well as the creation of a new, five-year, $500 million “State Aid to Local Roads, Bridges and Culvert Program” that would be funded by a portion of the several billions of dollars from recent financial settlements.

Waiting any longer to address the glaring deficiencies of our roads is a gamble I am unwilling to take. Failures in the network of roads and bridges would have crippling effects on local economies. An investment today is a commitment to for the future.      
 
What do you think?  I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.

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