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Hawley joins call for $50 million in local bridge and road repair funds

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) joined county and town highway superintendents to call for an additional $50 million in state funding to improve local roads and bridges. This funding is necessary to improve New York’s deteriorating local infrastructure, and will also create jobs related to infrastructure improvements. These roads cost each New Yorker an average of $1,600 in damage to vehicles because of roads in disrepair.

“After a particularly harsh winter, the importance of having well-maintained roads has become clear. We need to make sure that our roads and bridges are safe for the people who rely on them to go about their day-to-day lives. I stand with highway superintendents across the state in saying that our local roads do matter, and proper funding is critical to keeping them safe,” Hawley said.

alvin tufts
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Where is the picture taken?

alvin tufts
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Thanks

Jeff Allen
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That is what is known as the "Million Dollar Staircase" in our states capitol. It is carved by hand out of Medina Sandstone. It is one of our states architectural gems.

bud prevost
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New York State is the most inefficient money managing state imaginable. Where does all the money go? Seriously, who monitors these things and holds the tax collectors(NYS) accountable? If you stop to think how much money the average citizen already contributes to the coffers, you wonder why or how there could be any deficiencies anywhere in our state! A couple of points to ponder:

- Fuel Tax. Every gallon of gas is 69.6 cents tax, and diesel is 75 cents a gallon, which accounted for $1.6 BILLION in 2009, the last year I could find information on. We pay more just in state tax than most states do in COMBINED state and federal tax!

- Thruway Tolls and Concessions. According to a NYS published audit, the state generated $650 million in thruway tolls and concession fees. That is a great amount of money, yet our major interstate is one of the worst maintained sections of the nations interstate highway system. The state also issued $1.2 billion in bonds in 2012.

-DMV fees and traffic fines. In 2006, again according to NYS, the DMV collected $1.33 BILLION in revenues. Supposedly, about half of this money is allocated to maintaining roads and bridges across the state. And how about all the surcharges on the numerous traffic tickets issued? I couldn't find a definite number, but my guess is the amount is substantial.

New York state is the poster child for pissing away money, and wanting the people to keep plying the well so our leaders can piss away more. Enough is enough, how about some accountability!

Timothy Hens
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Great research Bud.

I suggest the following link for anyone who is interested in finding out where all of your gas tax and road user fees go.

https://www.osc.state.ny.us/press/releases/feb14/020514.htm

The state's Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund (the so called "lock box" for funding highway and bridge repairs and replacements) is broken and only 22.2% of its outlays actually go toward actual road construction.

The federal government is actually in much worse shape with their Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund as it will be bankrupt by September if Congress does not backfill it with a multi-billion dollar transfer from the General Fund.

Before World War II, highway spending comprised nearly 30% of local and state expenditures and now, even with all types of new gas taxes and road user fees, highway spending represents less than 6% of all state and local expenditures. Much of this spending has been replaced by social welfare programs. Here is an interesting summary:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review/04/03/Garrett.pdf

The bottom line is that too much of our gas tax and road user fees are being redirected to support non-highway entitlements and spending.

The reason why Counties and Towns are asking for more money is that our funding has not kept pace with inflation and roads and bridges are suffering. Highways and bridges also struggle under a tax cap and mandated spending on social welfare programs. Unfortunately highways are not a mandated item and when it comes time for a County or Town to cut their budgets it is one of the only things left that the state does not directly dictate spending on. All of that combined with a treacherous winter that has decimated snow and ice budgets plus a pot hole season that is only beginning to start and you have a much further decline in road and bridge conditions.

As the recent load posting of two critical bridges on Rt 20 have shown, a continued lack of focus on highway and bridge spending will result in inconveniences and economic impact.

My peers and I can continue to beat the drum, but until people are truly affected by road damage or bridge closures our elected reps will not pay attention. I commend Assemblyman Hawley for seeing this issue as it is and supporting our efforts to obtain more funding.

Robert Brown
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Mr. Hawley's joining the plea for more road funding is logical, but it's not solving the problem. Bud's and Timothy's posts highlight the issue - we are being significantly taxed by higher authorities under the guise of a promise to apply the funds to infrastructure, but in reality our hard earned money is being misappropriated. Where is Mr. Hawley and the rest of the cast in the fight to solve the real problem? The system is inherently inefficient and ineffective - we are essentially forced to donate funds to the state and federal governments then beg to get some fraction back. We're then regulated on how we can spend those funds, who we can get to do the work, etc... Until our entire cast of elected representation relentlessly introduces legislation (or takes steps to bring issues up for referendum) to eliminate mandates and reduce taxes we are a doomed population. Until we are allowed to keep our money and apply it to solve our own problems we are going to remain under the thumb of a group of aristocrats who are adept at taking care of themselves and their selected friends at our expense. The state is good for a few things, but the control over funding is simply a rouse and the majority of us are its victims.

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