Assembly Minority Urges Governor to Get Local Road, Bridge and Highway Projects Back Up & Running

June 8, 2020

The Assembly Minority Conference recently wrote to Gov. Cuomo, urging him to allow repair and construction activities on local roads and bridges to resume. Getting local crews up and running would address mounting infrastructure issues, help stimulate economies across the state and get thousands of men and women back to work. The letter is available here.

“As regions of the state begin the long-awaited opening of their economies, it’s critical that local construction projects be part of the equation. These projects have economic impacts that benefit not only municipalities and commuters, but put contractors, engineers and entire industries back on their feet,” Minority Leader Will Barclay said. “The COVID-19 shutdowns have delayed virtually all plans to repair and upgrade our roads, highways and bridges. It’s time to finally move forward with these initiatives and help communities and local economies heal.”

While crews on state-owned highways and bridges have been working, roughly $743 million in local construction and maintenance projects have been put on hold by the state. With two months lost in the construction season, localities face increasing pressure to complete necessary infrastructure initiatives in a timely manner, and professionals across the industry continue to struggle with the effects of the prolonged shutdown.

“The collaborative and essential work localities conduct through programs like CHIPS, Extreme Winter Recover, PAVE-NY and BRIDGE-NY have been held back long enough. As regions reopen, moving forward with vital infrastructure projects will dictate how quickly we can achieve a full, safe and functional recovery,” Assemblyman Phil Palmesano said. “I encourage the governor and Department of Transportation to take immediate steps to free up these local initiatives so we can facilitate community improvements, get people back to work and expedite our economic recovery.”

During a May 27 meeting with President Trump, Gov. Cuomo indicated that much of the discussion focused on the need for infrastructure activity as a path to create jobs and stimulate recovery. While the governor referenced projects in the New York City area, efforts in upstate New York will be equally important during the state’s phased-in reopening.

The Minority Conference has requested that the Department of Transportation, without further delay, release local allocations, issue the Consolidated Local Street & Highway Improvement (CHIPS) program authorization letters to municipalities and commit to reimbursing localities.