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Local roads, bridges need more funding through NY Works

— Maintaining roads and bridges is critical to keeping our communities viable and attracting future economic opportunities as well. We're on the brink of an economic recovery but in order for this to continue, our infrastructure has to be maintained. We need to improve our chances of job creators locating here. One of the first questions they have when considering a location is about infrastructure, such as access to highways, local roads and rail. It's critical that our roads are maintained.

We have understood at the state level that investment in infrastructure is important. In last year's budget, we increased funding for state roads by $1.16 billion under the New York Works program. This amount is being used in addition to traditional state capital funds to pay for, among other things, repairs to state bridges and a state pavement preservation program. This year, the Governor is seeking to increase funding under the New York Works program by $300 million: $200 million of this amount is earmarked to improve state and local highways, parkways and bridges and the remaining $100 million is to be dispersed through Regional Economic Development Councils.

Because the State is still facing serious financial constraints, I, along with a number of my colleagues from both the Assembly and the Senate from both sides of the aisle, are proposing that rather than simply adding new money to the CHIPs program, we instead should reallocate the $100 million that the Governor is proposing through NY Works to the Regional Economic Development Councils, to the CHIPs program. This would increase the annual appropriate for CHIPs to $463.1 million. Moreover, the increase would go directly to our municipalities, providing them with the flexibility and discretion to help repair and improve our local roads, bridges and culverts. This will help keep local taxes down as well.

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