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CHIPS: The 2019 NYS Budget, Our Roads and the Connection to Funding

I have previously written about Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) funding with respect to our roads and my issues with the funding formula [ LINK TO ARTICLE: What is CHIPS Funding And Why Should I Care], but today I have taken the time to review the state budget and I am disappointed that the Legislature was unable to allocate more funding for local road improvement plans. The CHIPS funding has remained flat at $477.8 million, and the Local PAVE NY and BRIDGE NY programs are each maintained at $100 million, statewide.

Moreover, there are no changes to the funding formula and no increases to the funding. Once again, local municipalities bear the brunt of the cost to repair our sorely neglected roads while bearing the burden of staying within the tax and debt caps. In October 2018, I spoke at a State Assembly infrastructure hearing where I advocated a temporary suspension of the debt the cap to allow us to put out a $150 million bond to make a dent in our neglected roads [ VIDEO LINK: Anthony Speaks About CHIPS Funding October 10, 2018 ].

Since 2011, the Town Board in Brookhaven has increased road resurfacing from $11 million to $18 million last year and despite the town board's efforts, no one knows where that money is being spent and the current Highway Superintendent likes this shroud of secrecy over your tax dollars. My "Worst To First" Initiative would publicly post where every cent of your tax dollars are going and would provide you with a detailed analysis of the worst roads and when we would be able to repair them on an accurate timeline. There's no excuse not to be transparent with your tax dollars and it's time for new leadership who understands and will work toward that principle through policy enactments.

The state has increased the Extreme Winter Recovery Repair funds by $65 million statewide. However, this is still subject to the standard CHIPS funding formula, a formula that allocates more money to upstate counties that have 1/10th the population of Brookhaven Town! I reiterate that labeling an area as a town versus a county should have minimal bearing on the funding received from NYS. Brookhaven is larger than Nassau County and has more lane miles of road than Nassau and Suffolk County! The amount of roads our town is expected to maintain pales in comparison to the amount of money we received annually.

While I applaud our hard working legislators in increasing the EWRR funding to help with this herculean effort to fix our roads, we really need to look at the CHIPS formula and increase the funding for the program for downstate. While $477 million seems like a large amount of money, it is a rounding error in a $175 billion budget.

If you elect me as your Highway Superintendent on November 5th, I will fight for every dollar and ensure our legislators understand our concerns for better roads. Investment in our roads today paves the way for a smoother tomorrow for your families, for our business owners, and of course, for your vehicles!


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