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Why I’m Supporting Joe Biden In November And Why Our Infrastructure is Key to an Economic Renaissanc

Why I’m Supporting Joe Biden In November And Why Our Infrastructure is Key to an Economic Renaissance

When I ran for Highway Superintendent in 2017 and 2019 in the Town of Brookhaven, I often spoke about the difficulties that local municipalities have in trying to update their infrastructure with limited budgets. There is only so much money from New York State’s “Consolidated Local Streets and Highway Improvement Plan (“CHIPS”) available each year and the funding for this program hasn’t been increased in over a decade. In addition, the allocation formula under the NYS CHIP’s formula is outdated and allows upstate NY counties with lower populations to assume a disproportionate amount of the funds compared to us downstate in Nassau and Suffolk. For instance, Herkimer County in Upstate New York received the same amount of CHIPS funding in 2018 as the Town of Brookhaven, despite the fact that Herkimer has roughly 63,000 residents and Brookhaven has nearly 483,000 residents.

Moreover, federal capital spending on highways has been declining for decades as a percentage of GDP since the building of the Interstate Highway system in the 1950’s and 1960’s, even as total vehicle miles has increased. You don’t have to drive more than a quarter of a mile in Suffolk and Nassau to see the effects that pothole riddled roads have on our livelihoods, it amounts to a stealth tax on the Middle Class in the form of automotive repairs to the tune of $600 on average.

Infrastructure is more than roads. It is sewers, bridges, water management systems, broadband access, updating of our school’s buildings, as well as erosion management systems for our beach front land areas. Only about 30% of Suffolk County is sewered and we are seeing the results in our groundwater quality. Joe Biden’s $2 billion infrastructure bill would address many of these issues that plague our communities here in Nassau and Suffolk. Specifically, Joe’s plan calls for $100 billion to be used to rebuild public schools, which will lower the necessity for expensive bond issues, lessening the burden on your local tax bill, a burden which everyone on Long Island knows all too well with the repeal of the “State and Local Tax (“SALT”) deductions from the federal tax code. Joe’s plan also calls for $50 billion to rebuild our roads without taking shortcuts like “Mill and Fill” cheap top coat jobs. Joe’s plan calls for $2.5 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help rebuild our shorelines from erosion that threatens to eliminate our pristine beaches that attract hundreds of thousands of Long Islander’s each summer.

There are more aspirational visionary plans as well, such as targeting long term national projects to produce significant national benefits like transportation and water improvements that increase resilience rather than just short-term “shovel ready” projects that provide short term repairs, but less long term problem solving. Imagine road improvements to the Northern and Southern State Parkways that helped to decrease traffic congestion. Here on Long Island, traffic is the bane of our existence and the average Long Islander spends 92 hours a year in traffic. Imagine rebuilding our water and sewer infrastructure with 21st century technology that allowed our munipalities to address water integrity issues rapidly rather than the current network of 1970’s era plumbing.

You might say, sounds good, but what about government waste? Joe Biden spearheaded the 2009 $787 billion“American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” (“ARRA”) which won bipartisan praise for its strict oversight and low levels of fraud. In addition to the increases for infrastructure spending, ARRA also gave direct aid to states which helped keep cops on the street, teachers in the classroom, and municipal workers repairing parks and our roads. Joe will prioritize the very Middle Class values that helped build our country and will help rebuild our nation’s infrastructure

The choice for Long Islanders is clear, a vote for Joe Biden is a vote for Long Island’s future.

Anthony R. Portesy

Editor’s Note: Anthony R. Portesy was the 2017 and 2019 Democratic, Working Familes, and Libertarian candidate for Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent.


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