Smullen: The Governor Needs To Chip-In More for Municipal Chips Funding

Assemblyman Robert Smullen (R,C,Ref-Meco) joined his colleagues on Monday to report on the findings of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Critical Infrastructure and Transportation. The purpose of the task force was to consult local experts and transportation officials across the state on the issues their municipalities face, and provide effective solutions based on the findings.

“One of the most fundamental duties of government is to ensure that it provides safe and effective infrastructure for its citizens,” said Smullen. “Here in upstate New York, we are in dire need to fix our roads and bridges. That is why I joined my colleagues in laying out a comprehensive plan to ensure our local municipalities receive their proper allocation of state infrastructure spending. We deserve a seat at the table and our fair share of funding.”

The task force’s proposals included solutions such as an increase of $100 million in CHIPS funding over a 5-year period, which would allow local municipalities to upgrade and maintain their infrastructure. To further relieve towns and villages of the burden, the plan would establish a companion program resembling CHIPS dedicated to water infrastructure such as drainage and culverts. Overall, the focus of the plan is to provide funding parity for upstate municipalities, which have been neglected by the interests of a New York City governor and his downstate constituency. Additionally, the proposal includes plans to:

  • Ensure funding parity between the upcoming NYSDOT and MTA Five-Year Capital Programs;
  • Increase CHIPS base aid by $100 million/year for five years and tie to CPI to account for inflation and increasing material costs;
  • Enact legislation mandating that all funding for the DHBTF is to be used only for capital infrastructure, not for state operations or debt service payments;
  • Expand support for the Clean Water Investment Act (CWIA) to ensure long-term commitment to water, sewer infrastructure;
  • Establish a companion for the existing CHIPS program, offering financial assistance to local governments for drinking, storm and sewer water infrastructure, called the Water Infrastructure Investment Program (WIIPS);
  • Continue, strengthen and improve PAVE-NY, EWR and BRIDGE NY in NYSDOT 2020-2024 Capital Program to help municipalities plan for improvements;
  • Establish a CHIPS-like formula for culverts based on the length of culverts within the municipality;
  • Require NYSDOT release a report each year detailing the condition of state-owned roads and bridges;
  • Direct NYSDOT to develop a 20-30-year long-term transportation plan; and
  • Require NYSDOT to submit its capital plan for approval.