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A rash of potholes in Westport, NY, is pretty typical of damage across the North Country. Photo: Brian Mann
A rash of potholes in Westport, NY, is pretty typical of damage across the North Country. Photo: Brian Mann

Cuomo says pothole rescue is on the way

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If you feel like the shock absorbers on your car are giving out this spring-- you're not alone. The harsh winter did massive damage to roads across the North Country and that's made driving tough in many communities.

Now New York state says it will help local governments make repairs, adding tens of millions of dollars to grants for resurfacing roads and bridges. In a statement issued last week, governor Cuomo announced that $40 million would be added to the grants made available to local governments to help them with what he called the "exceptionally harsh winter."

That's about a 10 percent increase in state support for local transportation infrastructure - money that goes to counties, towns and villages.

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Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

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The surface of the moon? Nope. Potholes in Vermont. Photo: Brian Mann
The surface of the moon? Nope. Potholes in Vermont. Photo: Brian Mann
Cuomo noted that he declared eight different states of emergency through the winter months; and he said pavement was damaged in many places by frequent plowing and by bitterly cold temperatures.

State Senator Joe Robach, whose district includes the Rochester area on the shore of Lake Ontario, issued a statement saying that he's heard concern from "countless constituents" about the wear and tear on public roads.

He said the state money will lessen the burden on local governments. Many of those communities are already cash strapped because of the squeeze on property tax hikes.

So the good news is that a lot of those chunky roads will get repaired this summer. The bad news is that the number of driving delays because of road crews will likely be higher as well.

Cuomo's Statement

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $40 million in State funding to help local governments make necessary repairs to highways and bridges following this year's exceptionally harsh winter. This funding, passed as part of the 2014-15 Enacted Budget, is a special one-time allocation to compliment the $438 million in existing State support for local transportation infrastructure. All counties, cities, towns and villages will receive capital assistance through the program.

"This past winter took its toll on New York's infrastructure, but the state is stepping up to help municipalities make necessary repairs so that our roads and bridges are properly repaired and safe for drivers," said Governor Cuomo. "These resources will go a long way toward helping local governments sturdy their infrastructure for future winters, making New York safer and more resilient for all."

The 2013-14 winter season was particularly punishing, with Governor Cuomo declaring a state of emergency on eight separate occasions and many local roads and bridges sustaining damage to the pavement surface, due to frequent plowing and bitterly cold temperatures. Localities will be able to use this funding on capital projects to repair and improve infrastructure and to complement their core construction programs. To help brace for future storms, longer lasting roadway surfacing and overlay projects are eligible expenses.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "This budget continues the state's commitment to making necessary investments in the transportation infrastructure of our local governments, whether it is roads and bridges or mass transit systems. These funding commitments are critical to our economy and the safety of the traveling public. It also provides municipalities with funds to help maintain their streets and roads and pay for the extensive repairs caused by this year's extremely harsh winter weather."

Senator Joe Robach said, "I've heard from countless constituents, businesses and other public officials who have expressed concern about wear and tear on public roads compared to past winter seasons. This additional money will lessen the burden local governments will feel when budgeting for road repairs, and is particularly important for Upstate governments, whose residents depend so heavily on safe roads on a daily basis."

The capital grants for extreme winter recovery will be allocated in accordance with existing formulas for local capital transportation aid (the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program, or CHIPS).

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