The recent Buffalo News report, “Infrastructure bill bringing hundreds of millions to WNY” was correct when it stated: “the biggest changes set to unfold locally under the infrastructure law will come inside Buffalo’s city limit.” Unfortunately, most of Western New Yorker’s roads aren’t even eligible for the billions in highway funding contained in the new infrastructure law and the projects highlighted in the article will do little if anything to stem the region’s declining infrastructure. Local governments in Western New York are responsible for 84% of the region’s roads – while the New York State Department of Transportation maintains 13%. DOT receives federal highway assistance under the new infrastructure bill for every mile (except for one mile – I kid you not) it maintains. Local governments only receive federal assistance on less than a mile of every six miles they maintain, even though half of the federal gas taxes collected from New York drivers comes from miles driven on local roads.
Thanks to record high inflation, costs for highway construction materials have soared and we need more funding from Albany to get our roads and bridges into good repair. That is why Rebuild New York Now is calling for the state Legislature to add an additional $270 million in state funding to the 2023-24 state budget for local highway programs like the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program and Extreme Winter Recovery to allow local governments throughout the region and state to make the investments that are so desperately needed in this critical infrastructure.
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