PLATTSBURGH — Local highway departments will receive a much-needed boost in state funding this year.
“This is just wonderful news,” Essex County Board of Supervisors Randy Douglas (D-Jay) said.
“We’ve been putting a lot of things off in the county and in the 18 towns because we just couldn’t do them, and now hopefully we can get some of these projects done.”
The funding boost comes in the form of the 2013-14 Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program, better known as CHIPS.
As part of the soon-to-be approved state budget, the program will increase by about $75 million statewide for a total of $438 million.
Funding in the program had been frozen for the past five years.
With about 87 percent of all roads and bridges in the state owned by local governments, State Sen. Betty Little said the funding increase will make a big difference.
“Local highway superintendents were here in Albany earlier this month. They filled the conference room and made their case,” she said in a news release.
“After five years of frozen aid, this is a big boost and much needed, given the increased cost of fuel and asphalt.
“We all depend on safe roads and bridges. Every community benefits from this type of funding.”
With the increase, Clinton County will see an additional $874,778 this year, for a boost of about 23.2 percent.
Legislator Harry McManus (D-Area 1, Champlain), who chairs the county’s Transportation Committee, said it will allow some bridges that are in poor shape to be fixed.
“We have a lot of areas in disrepair, and Al (Highway Superintendent Al Rascoe) has done a good job of prioritizing, but this will hopefully allow us to do some things that we’ve had to put off,” McManus said.
Of the county’s money, nearly $400,000 will go to the county, and about $388,000 will be shared by the 14 towns. Another $25,871 will go to the four villages, and the City of Plattsburgh will get $61,992.