Buffalo drivers cost for bad roads: $1,873 a year

ALBANY -- Drivers in Buffalo and Western New York are being hit with an annual cost of just under $1,900 a year because of bad roads, a report Thursday found.

Deficient roads are costing New Yorkers $24.9 billion a year in higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays, the report from TRIP, a national transportation advocacy contended.

The cost to drivers, the group estimated, ranged from the $2,800 in the metro area to $1,700 in the Rochester area, the group said.

The estimated cost to Buffalo area drivers is $1,873. 

The group advocated for more investment in roads and bridges, and New York is set to embark on a major overhaul of its infrastructure.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing a $100 billion investment -- $22 billion over five years for upstate roads and bridges, a $4 billion new Tappan Zee Bridge, renovations to Penn Station in midtown Manhattan and a tunnel between New Jersey and the city.

"All experts are unanimous that investment today in the infrastructure of tomorrow creates jobs and builds economic strength," Cuomo said in his State of the State address last week.

The report said that nearly two-fifths of New York's bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and nearly 5,800 people were killed in crashes on New York's roads from 2010 to 2014.

"Today's TRIP report highlights the poor conditions that New Yorkers across the state face on our roads and bridges every day," said John Corlett, legislative committee chairman at AAA New York, in a statement from the group.

Cuomo has faced pressure to provide parity between funding for the infrastructure in upstate and downstate.

The state is paying $26 billion for improvements to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, including Metro North, in New York City and the Hudson Valley. Cuomo sought to offset that by the upstate investment, as well as a freeze on state Thruway tolls -- including on the Tappan Zee Bridge -- until 2020.

But questions remain on how Cuomo will pay for his massive infrastructure plan.

"The source and the timing of this funding commitment have not yet been identified, nor have details of the plan, including a project list and commitments by spending category been provided to the Legislature," Senate Republicans wrote in their review of the budget Wednesday.


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