Elected officials ‘chipping’ away to get more money for local roads


At least one of the issues most people, especially those who drive can agree on, is that road repair is important.

That realization drove several elected officials, including Assemblyman Ari Brown and State Sen. Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick to stump for increased funding for street and highway work in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget as the State Legislature debates with the April 1 deadline looming.

At Cedarhurst Village Hall on March 22, Brown and Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick led the rally voicing dissatisfaction that there was a $60 million reduction in what is CHIPS money for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program.
Brown proposed that the funding be raised to $798 million, reflecting the addition back of the $60 million and another $2 million.

“We all know we also must prioritize the critical needs of our local roads and bridges, which constitute 87 percent of the statewide road system,” he said. “The proposed executive budget includes reductions to vital programs such as chips and the state touring routes program, which are essential for maintaining the integrity of our local transportation network.”

Brown said the funds they are requesting would continue initiatives including extreme weather recovery, paving and maintaining the safety and stability of local roads.

Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick voiced concerns about the increased cost of construction in relation to the budget cut.

“The Federal Highway Administration highway construction cost index found that (the cost of) constructing roads has increased by nearly 60 percent since 2022,” Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick said. “It’s inconceivable that our local governments are going to have such a substantial cut, while costs are increasing.”

Brown represents Cedarhurst, East Rockaway, Hewlett, Inwood, Island Park, Lawrence, Oceanside, Woodmere and the barrier island from Atlantic Beach to Point Lookout. Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick represents the barrier island as well, along with East Rockaway, Elmont, Floral Park, the Five Towns, Franklin Square, Lynbrook, Malverne and Valley Stream.

Cedarhurst Mayor, Benjamin Weinstock, East Rockaway Mayor Gordon Fox, Hewlett Bay Park Mayor Anthony Oliviero and Island Park Mayor Michael McGinty and Lawrence Deputy Mayor Paris Popack attended in support of Brown and Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick’s efforts.

“We estimated that the 80 miles of road in our village that we have to maintain into and repave, who cost the village more than $25 million, it’s a little bit over a million dollars a mile to repave those roads,” Weinstock said.

Samuel Nahmias, chairman of the Nassau County Bridge Authority, Guy Marino, deputy director of public works, Irving Kaminetsky, a commissioner of Sanitary District 1 and Bobby Tice, former fire chief at Island Park Fire Department also attended. George Pappas, Atlantic Beach mayor said in a statement that he applauds Brown’s “nonstop advocacy” for assembly district residents.

The State Legislature established CHIPS in 1981. Funding for municipalities, counties, cities, towns and villages is calculated based on local highway inventory mileage and motor vehicle registrations. After the state budget is enacted, the state Department of Transportation calculates funds and informs municipalities of their amount available.

Municipalities fund capital projects initially, but requests for reimbursements from the state for local cash expenditures for highway related capital projects could be made, being that the municipality requests for reimbursement is made during the specific time period necessary and this is a project with a 10-year service life or the project has to do with designated criteria set by CHIPS.

Have an opinion on the issue of road repair money? Send letter to jbessen@liherald.com.