Local Roads Matter


      Assemblyman Ray Walter (R,C,I-Amherst) attended a joint press conference with colleagues from the Senate, Assembly and local governments to advocate for additional funding for road and bridge repair in the coming budget. Walter highlighted the critical nature of the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs), which provides most of the state aid to localities for the upkeep and improvement of local roads and bridges.

      “It is absolutely imperative to the safety of our families that we improve the quality of our roads,” said Walter. “It’s no secret that the people of Western New York pay an arm and a leg in taxes. They deserve to see the direct results of paying such high taxes and seeing an improvement in infrastructure is a great place to start. Properly funding CHIPs will provide a boost to our recovering economy by creating jobs in repair and construction and facilitating transportation for consumers.”

     Chief among the lawmakers’ concerns is the ailing state of roads, bridges and culverts, primarily in upstate areas, and the harsh impact this is having on economic development. Legislators are calling for a $100 million dollar increase from the governor’s $361.1 million in CHIPs funding in the 2013-14 budget. According to a recent report from the state comptroller’s office, 32 percent of bridges are deficient and 40 percent of roads are rated fair or poor and getting worse. Forty-eight percent of vehicle travel in the state takes place on local roads, yet less than 12 percent of road maintenance fees go to local upkeep.

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