On Wednesday, US Senator Charles Schumer called on the House of Representatives to pass the surface transportation bill that the Senate passed last week.
Schumer’s push for federal investments in road and bridge infrastructure in New York comes amidst data that identifies 905 future Upstate infrastructure projects that could potentially be funded with federal dollars, which will cost a combined $4.16 billion.
These projects are eligible for federal support and the Senate-passed transportation legislation would provide a down payment on many of these projects to help ease the burden on the state and local governments.
The Schumer-backed bill that cleared the Senate would invest $1.75 billion in New York’s aging roads and bridges in 2012 and $1.77 billion in 2013, while helping support 61,000 construction jobs in highway, road, and bridge work, according to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
“Investing in our roads and bridges should be a bipartisan no-brainer, and we have to get it done quickly,” said Schumer. “Keeping our roads and bridges in top shape is essential for public safety, for businesses and communities that rely on them, and is the right thing to do for our economy. The Senate bill would make a significant investment in our roads, highways, bridges, and mass transit systems, all while supporting over 113,000 jobs across the state. I’m strongly urging our colleagues in the House to do the right thing, and pass this infrastructure bill that will be a shot in the arm for our economy, and protect the critical arteries that link our urban and rural communities throughout Upstate New York for decades to come.”
During the call, Schumer released a county-by-county report of projects that New York State could potentially fund with federal dollars provided by the Senate transportation bill.
The breakdown of the projects and the cost, to be divided between the federal and state and local governments in the Central New York region would be:
In Central New York, there are 125 potential projects costing $457,430,000 that could receive federal investments.
Schumer noted that while the New York state capital plan is consistently updated and subject to change, the list of potential projects is indicative of a widespread need for infrastructure investments in Upstate New York. A searchable database of potential projects can be found here: https://www.dot.ny.gov/projects
Schumer said the Senate bill would provide New York with more resources to help revitalize its aging infrastructure than the companion version in the House, H.R. 7.
Over the next two years, the Senate bill would provide New York with $3,516,415,537 in federal investments to repair and construct highways, roads, bridges, and mass transit systems. By comparison, the House legislation would only provide $3,271,498,784 over that same time period, a difference of over $244 million.
Given the dire need for infrastructure investments in New York, Schumer urged House leaders to abandon H.R. 7 and quickly pass the Senate legislation, which was approved by a 74-22 vote last week.
The transportation advocacy group TRIP estimates that many of New York’s roads fail to meet traffic and travel demands and would benefit from safety improvements. According to the group, these deficiencies cost New York drivers approximately $16.4 billion each year when the cost of crashes, additional operating costs, and traffic delays are factored in.
The average motorist faces just over $400 a year in costs due to wear and tear, increased fuel consumption, tire damage, and repair costs, thanks to New York’s road conditions.
In addition to combating these unnecessary expenses, investing in New York’s roads would provide a major boost to the state’s economy.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.