More state funding for local roads

By Kelly McCarthy

More state funding for local roads

March 27, 2013 Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 7:00 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) As part of the next budget, New York state will pave the way for more road improvements. It increased the budget to fund projects in counties and municipalities.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2013 budget includes an increase of $75 million in what's known as CHIPS funding; It stands for Consolidated Local Street and Highways Improvement Program.

"I think they're going to have to continue doing this until we can get our infrastructure to where it needs to be," said County Executive Debbie Preston, "Because it's been so many years where it was pretty flat as far as the funding we've been getting."

The increased funding means more projects with some restrictions. Construction plans must fall under certain eligibility requirements in order to get the funding reimbursed.

"You can not use it for potholes, snow removal, facility maintenance," said Town of Binghamton Highway Superintendent Michael Donahue. "It basically is a capital project program where they want you to take a section of road, rehabilitate it in that particular year."

The town of Binghamton plans to use some of its CHIPS funding toward a capital project on Campus Drive. Construction is set to begin later this year.

"Any funding that comes into a local municipality is a good feeling because the simple fact is our infrastructure is pretty much getting dilapidated," Donahue said.

The town of Binghamton is getting an additional $20,000. Donahue said the funds are desperately needed, but might go unnoticed by drivers.

"With that we'd be picking up probably another one-tenth of a mile in road," Donahue said.

Broome County will see 22 percent more money this year to bring their total to more than $6.5 million. The county will use the money in a similar way as the town of Binghamton.

"We'll use for smaller projects, but there's going to be more projects," Preston said. "That's the key. We'll be able to do more projects."

The last time the state increased funding for CHIPS was in 2008.