Broad Coalition Calls for Parity in Capital Region

North Greenbush, NY… Rebuild NY Now, a broad-based coalition seeking to raise public awareness about the issues impacting New York State’s infrastructure, continued its campaign and call for parity today in the capital region with local elected officials, members of organized labor, and private local businesses. This diverse coalition stood together at a press conference at North Greenbush Town Hall to call on the Legislature and the Governor to include funding parity between the capital plans of the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the New York State Department of Transportation in the budget.

Mike Elmendorf, President and CEO of Rebuild New York Now said, “A coalition unprecedented in its breadth and diversity has come together to demand parity between the MTA and DOT transportation systems because New York State’s infrastructure is aging and falling apart. The $26.1 billion proposed in the executive budget for the MTA and the $20.1 billion for DOT is not only not parity, it is the largest disparity in funding between the two systems since the historic parity agreement was reached. Renewing a commitment to parity between roads and bridges and transit will not only create jobs and save New Yorkers money – but it will ensure the safety and well-being of Capital District families who every day ride on roads and bridges that are in a serious and dangerous state of disrepair.”

New York State Senator Kathy Marchione (R,C,I-Halfmoon), Chair of the Senate’s Local Government Committee, said, “Investing in safer, stronger roads, bridges and other crucial infrastructure is good for motorists, good for our economy and good for job creation. For every $1 billion we invest in infrastructure, studies have shown that approximately 28,000 jobs are created and supported annually. I have heard from countless local elected officials all across my district – Columbia, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Washington counties, Republicans and Democrats alike – that more funding to repair roads and fix bridges is a top priority. Just as I have supported CHIPs funding increases every year, ensuring infrastructure funding parity for upstate is something I will continue advocating for. Restoring upstate infrastructure funding parity is a vital part of rebuilding New York now.”

Assemblymember John T. McDonald III said, “It is rare that a day goes by where we don’t hear about our failing infrastructure such as here in the Capital Region. The reason is simple in that the support from the Federal Government has subsided over the past two generations and the difficult challenge to fund ongoing maintenance and repair has not happened as it needs to be. Therefore, we are in the plight we are in. That being said, as our economy and state funding improves, it is time for us to make those investments as we are so much more dependent on our infrastructure not only for our day to day lives but more importantly our future economic development.”

Lou Desso, North Greenbush Town Supervisor said, “Nearly all towns and cities in Rensselaer County have faced tough economic times including North Greenbush, wherein we fully support Senator Marchione’s fierce dedication to funding infrastructure initiatives. It is our hope that funding to municipalities will be dispersed in an equitable manner under the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS). Without state funding it would be impossible for us to improve our Route 4 corridor which is the main business thoroughfare in North Greenbush including ventures such as the RPI Tech Park, Home Depot plaza, and Moscatiello’s Restaurant to mention just a few. This business route is ever expanding with several new businesses opening this calendar year and we need a wider roadway and improved traffic flow mechanisms to accommodate the growing needs of business and residents.”

Halfmoon Town Supervisor Kevin Tollisen said, “It is critical that New York State invest in our local municipalities by providing sustained annual revenues to repair and replace our aging infrastructure. With municipalities across New York State already financially strapped, increased funding for roads and infrastructure must be a top priority for our State government.”

East Greenbush Town Supervisor Jack Conway said, “East Greenbush, like so many other towns in this part of the state, has an aging infrastructure and a high tax rate. Our ability to keep our roads and bridges safe declines every year. Without additional help from the State we’ll be placed in a precarious position.”

Bernhard Meyer, Town of Canaan Highway Superintendent and Vice President, NYSAOTSOH said, “87% of the roads and half of the bridges in this state are owned by local governments. The only source of state funding for local roads and bridges is the state CHIPs program. Today, even with the recent CHIPS increases, localities are only getting back fraction of the taxes and fees their drivers are paying the state. The New York State Assoc. of Town Superintendents of Highways supports equal funding for both the MTA and DOT Five-Year Capital Programs at $26.1 billion. By restoring parity we are hopeful that state assistance for local highway maintenance will finally come close to what the state is collecting from local drivers.”

About Rebuild NY Now

Rebuild NY Now is a partnership of supporters seeking to raise public awareness about the issues impacting New York State’s infrastructure. The coalition actively engages federal and state elected officials to support public policies that promote safe roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and other vital infrastructure.

As part of its effort to educate the public and our federal and state policy makers, Rebuild NY Now promotes relevant research, data points and news reports that highlight the need to rebuild New York State’s deteriorating infrastructure.

Supporters of Rebuild NY Now are committed to advocating for appropriate investment in the state’s deteriorating roads and bridges.