State Assembly Budget Shortchanges Hudson Valley Roads and Bridges
CIC to Lawmakers: Increase DOT Program with IIJA Funds
By STAFF REPORTER – March 24, 2023
TARRYTOWN, NY—New Yorkers deserve a stronger commitment from state lawmakers to invest in local transportation infrastructure, and they don’t seem to be getting it. That’s the core message being heard in a public awareness campaign launched this week by the leading transportation construction organization in the region.
John Cooney, Jr., executive director of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc., urged the Hudson Valley delegation to the New York State Senate and Assembly to take advantage of all the federal funding that is available from the IIJA ($1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed in 2021).
Mr. Cooney told state lawmakers that the overall NYSDOT Capital Plan has not utilized all the federal government funding earmarked for infrastructure projects. He noted that the state is not utilizing $2 billion from the IIJA and another $417 million of ARPA funding. NYSDOT Region 8, which covers the Hudson Valley, has the worst road and bridge conditions in New York State, he noted. In 2021, Region 8 had the most bridges in fair or poor condition (43.8%) of any region in the state and the most deficient bridges (1,036) in the state. Statewide, the average fair/poor bridge average was just 35.7%. He also reminded lawmakers
that Region 8 has more bridges than any other Region in the state –in fact it maintains more bridges than New York City and Long Island combined.
Region 8 has both the most state and local lane miles of any NYSDOT Region in the state and maintains more than 5,000 more lane miles than any other region, according to NYSDOT. Region 8 pavements are the worst in the state. The statewide average for fair and poor pavements is 43.2%—the Hudson Valley rating is 56.8%—far exceeding the next worst region, which scored 51%.
In 2021, despite its poor road and bridge conditions, three NYSDOT regions secured more bridge money and two regions were appropriated more pavement funding than Region 8.
“The overall conditions of New York State roads and bridges remain in decline especially those in NYSDOT Region 8,” Mr. Cooney said. “The inflation of the last two years combined with an increasing share of NYSDOT capital money being spent on large but needed “signature projects” leaves the NYSDOT Core Program that funds the repair of all New York State roads and bridges in a diminished state that will only contribute to a continued decline of road and bridge conditions.”
The construction trade association urged the State Legislature to address the Region 8 funding shortfalls:
- NYSDOT Region 8 (Westchester County) needs to receive a larger percentage share of overall NYS Capital Program Funding (Region 8 has the largest amount of road lane miles and highest amount of bridges in all of New York State NYS DOT regions);
- The $2-billion balance of increased federal aid authorized by the IIJA not spent in the NYSDOT 5-Year Capital plan should be spent and be reflected in the remaining four years of the NYSDOT Capital Plan;
- The $421 million of COVID relief money received from the federal government directed towards NYSDOT should be reflected as an incremental increase to the overall NYSDOT Capital Plan;
- CHIPS/Marchiselli/Pave-NY/EWR/POP (Local Road Funding) needs to be increased by at least $150 million per year over the remaining four years of the program, to compensate for the increased cost driven by inflation over the past two years;
- In reviewing the New York State Assembly One House Budget proposal, CIC was disappointed to see only one ask for a funding increase which was a $100-million increase to the Pave-NY program. The conditions of New York State’s roads and bridges need a much larger investment to bring them into a state of good repair. In fact, the Assembly’s proposed $100-million increase could not even move the needle of improvement for NYS Region 8’s road conditions much less those of the entire state.
By comparison, the New York State Senate “One House Budget” proposal does a better job addressing the transportation network’s capital needs, CIC noted. It contained the “Ask” for the following increases:
- An increase of $8 billion for NYSDOT capital program over the next four years;
- An increase of $200 million for CHIPS to $738 million;
- An increase of$70 million for EWR;
- An increase of $50 million for Bridge NY to $250 million;
- An increase of $30 million for state touring routes to $130 million;
- Funding of $16 million for design assistance to local governments that will help simplify the process of seeking state aid for projects.
“The New York State Senate One House Budget proposal is on point and leverages the more than $2.0 billion of federal aid received and not spent from the federal government,” Mr. Cooney observed. This proposal would greatly improve road and bridge conditions in the Hudson Valley Region 8.”
He concluded, “I urge the entire Hudson Valley NYS Assembly delegation to work in cooperation with the State Assembly leadership, the State Senate, and the governor’s administration to adopt the Senate’s One House Budget proposal as it relates to the NYSDOT Capital plan. The only way Region 8’s road and bridge conditions will improve is if you, as a member of the Hudson Valley delegation, advocate for overall increased funding and a larger share of that increased funding for NYSDOT Region 8.”