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Officials Call for Increased State Funding for Highway Improvements

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Lawmakers and labor officials gathered Sunday in Peekskill to call for an additional $2 billion in the state Department of Transportation’s Capital Improvement Fund to fix area roadways.

The event was hosted by Thomas Carey, president of the Westchester Putnam Central Labor Body and business agent for UA Local 21, along with John T. Cooney, Jr., executive director of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley, a Rebuild NY partner, and other infrastructure advocates.

Cooney noted that the Department of Transportation’s Region 8, which covers Westchester and the Hudson Valley, has the worst road conditions in the state—and has for the past several years. Region 8 has 5,000 more lane miles to take care of than any other DOT region, and more bridge decks to maintain than New York City and Long Island combined.

“The extra funding for the DOT capital plan is sorely needed right here,” said Cooney. “The Senate’s One-House Budget recognizes this and knows the money needs to be spent to make our roads safer.”

The Rebuild NY Now coalition recently sent a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie asking for them to include the extra $2 billion of funding for roads in the 2024 State Budget, which the State Senate has already approved. That would bring the total funding for DOT capital improvements up to $8 billion for the next four years.

“Residents are letting me know daily how frustrating and dangerous it is to drive on our roadways,” said Sen. Pete Harckham. “I have been in regular contact with NYSDOT about certain roads needing immediate repair, but enough is enough! We know the costs to maintain and fix roads have increased, and that’s why it is necessary to add $2 billion to the NYSDOT’s five-year capital improvement plan.”

“Every day I hear from drivers and passengers expressing frustration about the condition of our roads and bridges,” said Sen. Shelley Mayer. “We must fight for its inclusion in the final budget. Roadways that are in poor condition pose a danger to drivers and are costly to individuals for vehicle repairs. Our communities and local economy depend on solid investments in our infrastructure.”

Along with the Senate’s proposed $2 billion addition to the DOT Capital Improvement Plan, the Senate is also supporting local government so that they can maintain municipal transportation infrastructure with an additional $200 million in support for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS); $70 million for the Extreme Winter Recovery program; and increasing Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) funding by $213 million (approximately 30 percent per municipality).

“New Yorkers want to be able to say that their roads are in good shape and are safe to travel on,” said Peekskill Mayor Vivian McKenzie. “We deserve to have great infrastructure, and what better way to create more good jobs and increase economic development throughout our state than by maintaining our roadways?”

 

 

 

 

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