State asked for more money to maintain local roads

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 6:00 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - As inflation raises costs, local highway departments are pushing to get the state to give them more money to maintain roads.

Concrete aggregate and fuel are just some of the road construction materials that are getting more expensive for local highway departments.

Town of Lorraine Highway Superintendent Joe Wasileski says with inflation, there’s been a 22% cost increase in construction materials. He says roads need to be maintained no matter the cost.

“There’s not anything we do on a day-to-day basis that doesn’t pertain to a road. You know, we go to and from everywhere, we go and everything we do requires a road,” he said.

Wasileski says in past years the state’s highway funding has been flat and believes that has to change.

“Last year we had a record increase. That was prior to inflation. We’re asking for enough funds to get us back to what the expenses were prior to inflation,” he said.

“On Wednesday local highway superintendents met up with lawmakers in Albany to ask for increased funding in this year’s state budget.

The New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways is asking for an additional $270 million annually.

It’s seeking $200 million for its highway improvement program, known as CHIPS funding, and $70 million for its extreme winter recovery program.

State Assemblyman Scott Gray (R. - 116th District) says with inflation, flat funding doesn’t make sense.

“When you talk about flat funding, it’s regressive. It’s actually going backwards because they’re losing ground, less road miles that they can maintain, the less road miles they can repair, less repairs after an extreme winter,” he said.

Gray and others hope the increased funding can get into the state budget which has a deadline of April 1.