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What is the CHIPS program and why should I care?

CHIPS stands for " Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program and it is how the Town gets reimbursed for certain road projects from the State of New York. CHIPS reimbursements are issued by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) every quarter. Funds that are not used in a fiscal year must be reauthorized by the State Legislature in the next year. Source: Last year, Brookhaven Town rolled over $555,757.06 in CHIPS funding. We should be not be rolling over a dime given the disrepair of our roads.


(Source: https://www.dot.ny.gov/programs/chips/chips-repository/CHIPS%20Capital%20Apportionment%20Balances%20After%20March%202013%20CHIPS%20Payment.pdf)


Brookhaven Town is responsible for selecting eligible project activities for CHIPS and EWR and eligible activities for PAVE-NY and must certify the project is expected to have a useful service life of at least 10 years, except for the following resurfacing project sub types where the service lives are less than 10 years or where the treatment is: (1) microsurfacing; (2) paver placed surface treatment; (3) single course surface treatment involving chip seals or oil and stone; or (4) double course surface treatment involving chip seals or oil and stone.


Municipalities must adopt appropriate local standards. All requirements or standards prescribed in the National Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices and NYS Supplement, Highway Law, Vehicle and Traffic Law, and other applicable State and local laws, codes, and regulations must be followed. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) standards for local streets and highways, NYSDOT highway standards, or other standards which are considered appropriate by the municipality, may be used for design of county, town, city, and village roads.


In short, New York State has allocated over $100 million a year for the next five years for road repair and Brookhaven should take advantage to maximize what they obtain. It is important to note the formula for CHIPS funding is rather cumbersome and does not take into account the population of a township as large as ours unless you count "vehicle registrations" which I believe is completely ludicrous. More population means more drivers, not necessarily more cars. If you've ever driven a family members vehicle for any reason, you get the logic behind my argument. Here is how the CHIPS funding is allocated:

  • 20.7% ($30 million) is distributed to counties and NYC on the basis of their relative shares of motor vehicle registrations

  • 20.7% ($30 million) is distributed to counties and NYC on the basis of their relative shares of centerline highway mileage, except interstate and state highways.

  • 58.6% ($85 million) is distributed to all municipalities in a two part process.

  • First, the money is split into individual amounts for cities, counties, villages, and towns on the basis of relative vehicle miles of travel (42.7% for cities, 18.5% for counties, 10.7% for villages, and 28.1% for towns)

  • Amounts so allocated to each municipality class are then apportioned within that class on the basis of the relative number of lane-miles, exclusive of parking lanes, under the maintenance jurisdiction of each municipality.

In 2019, I plan on ensuring that we get every single dime from the CHIPS program and working with the State Assembly to retool the funding protocol to include population as a primary formula for funding of our road repairs. There is no reason why Herkimer County, just south of Utica should be getting as much CHIPS funding as the Town of Brookhaven!


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