Blankenbush joined by attendees of the CHIPs press conference
Today, a press conference held by several state Senators and Assembly members called for an increase of $250 million to the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs) in the 2016-2017 state budget. This increase would take the CHIPs funding to a total of $688.1 million. At the press conference, state legislators from both houses sought to create a new, four-year, $600 million State Aid to Local Bridges and Culvert Program to assist in improving local bridges and culvert projects across the state.
I am thrilled about the support displayed in Albany today by these hard-working men and women across the entire state, Blankenbush (R,C,I Black River) said. Investment in upstate infrastructure not only ensures the safety of motorists, but is also an investment in jobs for our local town roads and highway departments. I am honored to have signed the joint letter to Gov. Cuomo about this issue.
The restoration of $50 million in Winter Recovery funds was also an issue raised at the press conference and included in the letter to the governor. Under the governors proposed 2016-2017 Executive Budget, these separate funds would be eliminated.
There is no reason our funds should be getting cut when there is already a massive discrepancy between upstate and downstate budget allocation. We must continue to fight for parity in funding for all parts of the state. Regional and local control must be returned to the men and women who deal with these roads and bridges on a daily basis. They know exactly what problems need to be addressed and how to address them. I am proud of the plan we have created and look forward to putting it in place, Blankenbush said.