Albany, NY, November 22 – County highway professionals throughout New York State reacted favorably to the news that President-Elect Donald J. Trump is exploring ways to fund repairing the nation’s aging roads and bridges.
“As the statewide organization of county highway superintendents and public works commissioners, we are always encouraged to hear our political leaders prioritize public investment in transportation,” said Tracy J. Eldridge, President of the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association and Hamilton County Superintendent of Highways.
Trump’s transition team aides describe his infrastructure improvement plans as a $1 trillion investment in our system of roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, railroads, ports, waterways and pipelines.
“A federal funding commitment of this magnitude is certainly needed. It’s just as important though to assure a significant portion of this funding be directed to locally-owned roads, bridges and culverts in New York,” Eldridge emphasized.
The federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act enacted last year put in place a multi-year funding plan for the nationwide highway and bridge transportation system. And while the county highway officials had long supported a long-term federal commitment to transportation infrastructure that guaranteed year-to-year funding, FAST funding levels are held relatively unchanged from prior years and the majority of dollars are still directed primarily to the National Highway System (interstates, principal arterials and expressways).
“As the newly-elected president continues to develop his plan, we urge the Trump team to consider the significant needs of our locally-owned aging and deteriorating roads and bridges,” Eldridge said. “In this way, we will promote an expansive and diverse transportation system that is seamless between the many levels of government owners, well maintained and functional to promote safe travel, enhance commerce and support economic development and job creation,” Eldridge asserted.
The 2016 Better Roads Bridge Inventory report ranks New York 48th among the fifty states and District of Columbia as having the highest percentage of structurally deficient/functionally obsolete bridges out of its total bridge inventory; 37.7%.
“The needs are well documented,” said Eldridge. “What we look forward to now is a nationwide plan that is long-term, adequately funded and responsive to the maintenance and rehabilitation demands of the transportation system regardless of which levels of government own and maintain the roads and bridges,” Eldridge concluded.