Fair share of transportation funds needed

Posted at 3:48 PM, Mar 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-12 15:48:36-05

There’s a push to level the playing field when it comes to transportation funds in New York State. 

“What we have been getting is what we can barely use to stay afloat,” explained Fair Apportionment of Infrastructure Revenues (FAIR) Committee CO-Chair, Carley Hill.

Hill said the evidence of that is all around Canalside She pointed to cracks in the surrounding roadways and sidewalks, and crumbling concrete from the 190 and the Skyway. “Right here is a disaster, and thousands upon thousands people use this daily for hockey games; during the summer it's used for concerts,” said West Seneca Concrete and Construction Union President, Gary Hill.

Canalside is one of many examples of a problem across our region. Roads and bridges are in need of repair. According to F.A.I.R., the upkeep is unmanageable with the current amount of state funding coming to Western New York. In 2008, this area saw 10% of the total Department of Transportation budget. This year, we're slated for only 4.4%. “We're doing way less work, and if you put inflation in there, it compounds the problem because we're trying to do more with way less funds than we got 15 years ago,” said Gary Hill. “We can't wait another day. Every day we wait is a day lost on developing our state,” added Carley Hill.

Then there's New York City where in 2015 it accounted for more than half of the state's transportation budget. That's not including M.T.A. funding. “It's time to really take on the NYC establishment and say what's good for NYC is good for WNY. We demand parity,” said State Senator, Michael Ranzenhofer. “We can't have a discussion about economic development and ask companies to come here and create jobs if the infrastructure is falling apart,” Senator Rob Ortt said. 

State officials on both sides of the aisle say they’re fighting for our area’s fair share.