A coalition of construction, business and municipal organizations is calling for more than $1 billion in additional funding for road improvement projects across New York, citing higher costs that have diluted the impact of recent spending pledges.
The money is being sought by the Rebuild NY coalition, composed of business entities and local government advocates. The groups are calling for $1.12 billion to be added to the state budget in the coming weeks, arguing the money would in essence reach the same level of spending targets adopted in 2015.
The cost of materials, including steel and asphalt, as well as fuel, have all risen in the last year, making construction projects for the state Department of Transportation all the more expensive.
"Without at least this level of funding added to the NYSDOT’s core program this year, we will see significant reductions in the maintenance and reconstruction work done in every NYSDOT Region in the state," the groups warned in a letter sent to Gov. Kathy Hochul this week.
New York in the last year has sought to boost funding for road and bridge improvement programs as the federal government has showered states with cash in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A $32.8 billion capital program for the Department of Transportation includes $6.1 billion for bridge and highway assistance. On average, the core construction program averages out to more than $2.6 billion a year.
But the money may not be keeping pace with the cost of construction as inflation continues to rise. Fuel costs are up by more than 250%, while the cost of steel has more than doubled.
Hochul in the coming weeks is expected to introduce a budget plan that is due to pass at the end of March.
"It is critical that an additional $1.128B be added to the 2023-24 budget for state and local highway construction just to keep funding at the same level it was when the five-year program was initially adopted in 2022," the groups wrote.