For the first time in many years, the state legislature has budgeted a substantial increase in aid to local municipalities for road and infrastructure repair. It's about time — state highway officials have been warning for years that the state's roadways, due to recent years' budget cuts, have been deteriorating at an ever faster rate and may require massive amounts of money to bring back to historic standards. In this photo, potholes on Sanford St. in Glens Falls — and throughout the region — are punishing cars and causing extra repair expenses for motorists.
The new state budget provides a substantial increase in money allocated for repairing deteriorating local roads and bridges, state Sen. Betty Little said this week.
Statewide, funding for the state’s 2013-14 CHIPS program is to increase $75 million to attain a total of about $438 million. Appropriations for CHIPS, which bankrolls such repairs, has remained flat for five years.
Little said this week that local highway superintendents came to Albany in March and made it known that the roadways were in great need of improvement.
“The local highway superintendents filled the conference room and made their case,” Little said. “After five years of frozen aid, this is a big boost and much needed given the increased cost of fuel and asphalt.”
Little added that about 87 percent of roads and half of the bridges in the state are owned by local governments.
Funding increases include $677,980 more or a boost of 23 percent for Warren County, $723,448 more or about 24 percent additional for Essex County; and an increase of $874,779 or about 23 percent more for Clinton County. The average statewide increase is 20.7 percent.
The state Senate approved the transportation bill Monday.