New York state budget could hurt local transportation efforts

By Brandi Bailey

March 11, 2013 Updated Mar 11, 2013 at 8:52 PM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) The New York Department of Transportation is one of many agencies facing cuts in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal. Local highway officials fear there won't be enough money for even the most basic work.

Counties and municipalities receive funds from the state called in the form of CHIP money, or consolidated highway improvement funds.

In Broome County, that money is paired with federal funds to cover repairs for 350 miles of roads and 123 bridges.

This coming year, though, it likely won't be enough.

"We have a lot of infrastructure and not enough money to cover all the costs," said Broome County Commissioner of Public Works, Dan Schofield.

The county spent more than $2 million of CHIP money just on road construction this year, meaning some roads will be fully repaired, while others will receive the band-aid approach.

"We're developing plans for which road get patched, which ones get re-surfaced, which ones get ground down, a little more gets spent on those roads," Schofield said.

Smaller municipalities like the Town of Binghamton don't see any federal funding.

It's funding comes from sales taxes, real property taxes and the state, through CHIP.

The Town of Binghamton receives$ 3,600 per center lane highway mile for its 50 miles of road.

With rising fuel cost and material costs, it's all about prioritizing.

"We keep track of how much money we put into a particular road, and some roads may have nothing this year. But the following year may be reconstructed," said Town of Binghamton Highway Superintendent, Michael Donahue.

For municipalities and counties alike, it's a struggle to make ends meet and keep roads and bridges safe for travelers.

"We're trying to stretch the product and be as creative as we can to cover as much territory as we can. But it gets more difficult," Schofield said.

Officials in towns and counties says in order to keep up with work that needs to be done, the funding has to be available.