CHIPS Funding Critical to Economy, Emergency Services

Earlier this week, members of the Assembly Minority Conference stood with advocates, professionals, legislators from both sides of the aisle and countless others who are concerned the state is not committing enough resources to our local roads, bridges and culverts.
 
One of our Conference’s top priorities, as outlined in our “Budget Blueprint for a Better New York,” is increased funding for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) in the 2019-2020 State Budget. We are calling for a funding increase of $150 million, in addition to a restoration of $65 million for the Extreme Winter Recovery program cut by Gov. Cuomo in his Executive Budget.
 
The importance of safe, functional and well-maintained roads and bridges cannot be overstated. They are the means by which goods are moved from business to business; school children and hard-working tax payers get from place to place; and they are the network that allows emergency service personnel to save lives. We cannot have a thriving economy, or a functioning society, without adequate infrastructure.
 
For this reason, we continue to be baffled by a lack of investment in New York’s roads, bridges, water and sewer systems. According to our report, NEW YORK’S INFRASTRUCTURE: A Report on Fortifying Our Roads, Bridges and Water Systems, each dollar spent in preventive maintenance will save $16 down the road. Letting infrastructure problems fester wastes money and stunts economic growth. An increase in funding is an important first step toward getting back on the right track.
 
NEW YORK’S ROADS AND BRIDGES ARE WOEFULLY FAILING
 
A recent CNBC study ranked New York nearly at the bottom—only Mississippi, Massachusetts and New Jersey were ranked lower—of a list of the 10 worst infrastructures in the U.S. New York was given an abysmal “D” grade based on the number of roads in poor or mediocre condition, the percentage of deficient bridges, funding for water systems and commute times.
 
No matter how you slice it, New York has a lot of catching up to do. I implore the governor and legislative leaders to heed the calls of those who rallied this week. There is simply no excuse for allowing our roads and bridges to continue to deteriorate. The dangers to our citizens, and to our economy, are far too great to ignore. We must fulfill our commitment to the people of our state.
 
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@nyassembly.gov, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

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