Transportation advocates push for more funding in state budget
ALBANY, NY (WENY)-- Gov. Kathy Hochul's state budget proposes maintaining funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) at $577.8 million. Some lawmakers said it's not enough--especially for local municipalities who rely heavily on funding from the CHIPS program.
“Those municipalities who chips either makes up all of their local roads budget or a very substantial portion of it. The only option they have to improve their roads beyond that is raising property taxes. We all know where property taxes are in New York State. That’s not a viable option in most of our communities," said Sen. Tom O’Mara (R-Big Flats).
O'Mara said the funding for CHIPS and other infrastructure programs like PAVE NY and Pave Our Potholes has been flat for the past few years.
Sen. O'Mara, Assembly Member Phil Palmesano (R-Corning) and some of their Senate and Assembly colleagues recently sent a letter to the governor asking for a $200 million increase in base funding for CHIPS and a $70 million increase to the Extreme Weather Recovery program.
“If we could get this increase in the CHIPS program and the Extreme Winter Recovery, it would make a significant difference for our local communities and also for the property taxpayers. Every dollar we invest in the CHIPS program, saves a local property taxpayer one dollar," Palmesano said.
Some local advocates said with the cost of construction materials rising with inflation, an increase in funding to these infrastructure programs would have a significant impact.
“We’re just band aiding a lot of our roads, I mean not just me, but all the municipalities," said Matt Mustico, Highway Superintendent Town of Elmira.