Local officials lobby for more state roadway improvement funding

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Ross Pepe (center) of the Construction Contractors Association of Westchester
and the Hudson Valley among those supporting Rebuild NY Now

PLEASANT VALLEY – Dutchess County officials and local labor organizations announced their support for Rebuild New York Now on Monday at the site of a current Dutchess County bridge project on County Route 72 in Pleasant Valley.
Rebuild New York Now is a statewide initiative advocating for more funding towards upstate infrastructure: highways, roads and bridges.
Last year, Governor Cuomo secured almost $3 billion in funding for the MTA via a court settlement. Similarly, another $2 billion is currently being secured by the state, again by court settlement and Rebuild NY Now is looking to have that allocated toward improving the aging infrastructure of Upstate New York.
Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro said although the county plans to have $11 million in the 2016 budget for highway, bridge and road repairs, the projects they undertake have a cost that far outweighs the funding the county can provide.
He said, usually, projects in Dutchess County are a multi-funded effort between county, state and federal funds. Molinaro is hoping that with Rebuild New York Now the state will give the same treatment, in terms of funding, as they did with the MTA last year.
“Our position, the counties across the state, is use that $2 billion,
that one time revenue, as the means to provide parity between the capital
investment downstate with the capital needs upstate,” said Molinaro.
Senator Susan Serino (R, NY 41) agrees and said she believes the Department of Transportation has been “short changed” approximately $6 billion. She said the funds will not only help fix parts of upstate infrastructure that sorely need it but, will also put locals who need work back to it.
“I think it just needs to be fair; there needs to be parody and I think that’s the important message,” said Serino. “We’ve gotten ‘short changed’ with regard to the DOT; so, I think this is a time when we need to have the governor take a serious look at this and say, ‘Yes, we need to fund it, we need to get people working and fix our roads and bridges’.”
The court settlement monies being secured by the state are “one shot” only; meaning, they are not sustainable funding opportunities. Rebuild New York Now is looking to spread awareness of the issue of aging upstate infrastructure and unemployment so that hopefully, in the near future, there can be a means to support both upstate and downstate infrastructure needs simultaneously.