Highway Superintendents Want State Help with Repair Budgets

BUFFALO, N.Y.-New York's surprisingly brutal winter has created more than a few potholes, and that would include the cavities the snow and deep chill has left in road repair budgets.

Timothy Hens, president of the NYS County Highway Superintendents Association, says the larger than expected effort to keep roads clear has left less money for pothole patching come spring.

"We're gonna have to take a large chunk of our Summer money that we normally put toward paving and fixing potholes and use it toward picking up the overtime and the salt. So, factor in the double-whammy of the potholes and we're going to be behind the 8-ball."

That's why so many county and town highway superintendents gathered at the State Capitol today to call for an additional $50 million dollars for the CHIPS program.

CHIPS stands for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program. It's state funding for local road maintenance projects.

For five years, the amount of CHIPS money distributed by the state to local governments did not change. But the 2013-2014 budget which expires April 1st, featured an additional $75 million. What Hens and his fellow highway superintendents are calling for another $50 million increase.

In Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed 2014-15 budget, there is no increase in CHIPS funding called for. So far, the Cuomo administration is holding firm on that.

Hens says given the winter's impact on New York roads and the budgetary problems that came with it, the state needs to find a way to help. Without more state aid, Hens says local governments, reigned-in by the property tax cap, may have to decide what they can live without in their budgets in our to fix the roads.


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