Call on governor to increase CHIPS funding
Republican State Sen. Rob Ortt today joined a bipartisan group of elected officials, local leaders and county and town highway superintendents to push for additional infrastructure funding in this year's state budget. At a press conference at the New York State Capitol, Ortt called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders to increase Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) funding.
"It's no secret that our local roads, bridges and culverts have been dangerously underfunded by the state," Ortt said. "One of the biggest needs in my district relates to the state's abandonment of its obligations to fund canal bridges, which negatively impacts education, agriculture, commerce and public safety. Fortunately, the windfall money the state has recently acquired provides lawmakers with a timely, though long-overdue, solution to our deteriorating infrastructure problem. This will be fiscally responsible budgeting; it will create immediate jobs in the short term; and it will represent a long-term investment in our community."
The New York State County Highway Superintendents Association, Association of Town Superintendents of Highways, Association of Counties, the New York Conference of Mayors, the Association of Towns of the State of New York, and the Farm Bureau joined Ortt.
"It's time to seriously invest in our local roadways, our bridges and our drainage," Town of Murray Highway Superintendent Ed Morgan said. "My crew and I see the dramatic effects of this deterioration on a daily basis, and time is certainly of the essence when it comes to repairs and upgrades."
Niagara County Legislature Majority Leader Rick Updegrove said, "This is a wise investment of taxpayer resources. Good roads are integral to the success of our county and vital to the business community, which relies on quality infrastructure."
Ortt said he and his Senate Republican colleagues would prioritize upstate infrastructure spending when they release their one-house budget resolution. The budget resolution serves as the Senate's platform in budget negotiations with the governor and Assembly. The state budget is due March 31.