— POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – New York State Senator Terry Gipson (D-Dutchess, Putnam), local Highway Superintendents and representatives today urged New York State to include more infrastructure funding for municipalities in the 2014/15 State Budget and a greater commitment from New York State to address infrastructure needs.
“I recently rejected the Majority Coalition’s budget proposal in the State Senate in-part because despite one of the harshest winters in recent history, on top of an already crumbling infrastructure, additional funding for our highway departments to help improve our upstate roads, sidewalks and bridges is nowhere to be found,” said Senator Gipson. “We need a greater commitment to addressing our infrastructure needs in New York State for the purpose of safety and our economy. We cannot move our economy forward in the Hudson Valley on a dilapidated 19th Century infrastructure.”
Municipalities receive state funding for infrastructure through the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), which was established by the State Legislature in 1981. Last year, in the 2013/2014 Budget, Senator Gipson was successful in working with Governor Cuomo and his colleagues to secure an increase in CHIPS funding, however, despite a hard winter, funding remains flat in this year’s current budget proposals. Senator Gipson also called for a greater commitment from New York State to ensure the NYSDOT is adequately funded and efficient in ensuring the safety, maintenance and improvements of state-owned infrastructure.
“Our town lacks funding for our increasing infrastructure needs,” said Joanne Graham, Town of Dover Highway Superintendent. “We have two small bridges, sidewalks and many miles of failing roads. A CHIPS funding increase is necessary for infrastructure repairs for all towns statewide.”
Town of Rhinebeck Highway Superintendent Kathy Kinsella said, “Local municipalities maintain most of the roads in New York State but we are struggling to care for aging infrastructure in the face of tax caps, unfunded mandates, and rising costs. A winter like the one we just had makes it that much harder. Funding has not kept up with need. I applaud State Legislators, like Senator Gipson, who recognize that and who fight for our towns.”
“Our Town is short on the funding necessary to make many of the much needed repairs to our infrastructure after this year’s harsh winter,” said Heather M. Wilson, Highway Superintendent, Town of Pine Plains. “I stand with Senator Gipson in calling on the state to help ensure our community’s roads are safe and maintained.”
“The Village of Rhinebeck is lacking the resources to fix the infrastructure such as crumbling roads and a water distribution system that is more than 100 years old,” said Heinz Sauer, Trustee of the Village of Rhinebeck. “Along with Senator Gipson, I call on the State to ensure that our Community’s infrastructures are safe and maintained.”