Road funds off-balance

By JOE LEATHERSICH

WARSAW — The Department of Transportation knows the New York City subway is important — but that doesn’t stop the roads in upstate New York from crumbling.

The Wyoming County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a resolution passed calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo restore parity between the upstate and downstate budget.

As it stands, downstate and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are set to receive $26.1 billion in funding — $6 billion more than upstate’s $20.1 billion.

On top of this, Cuomo plans to allocate $8.3 billion toward the MTA’s multi-year deficit.

This isn’t anything new for the DOT, though.

Since 2009, the funding allocated to the MTA and DOT favored the former by $5-6 billion. Between 1995 and 2009, however, the two budgets were essentially identical.

This lack of parity comes knowing that Upstate accounts for 87 percent of the state’s roadways.

What’s more, a study by the New York State Comptroller in 2014 revealed that 34 percent of bridges are deficient and 48 percent of roads are rated “fair” or “poor and getting worse.”

For years, the DOT has been forced to lay a few inches of asphalt over crumbling roads — a Band-Aid to get by until real reconstruction can be done.

“We have roads that we are maintaining to keep them safe but they’re beyond any simple preservation treatment,” said Wyoming County Highway Superintendent Todd Gadd. “All we’re able to do is maintain them. We can’t significantly improve them to make it a better road.”

In Wyoming County, there are over 22 miles of roads that need major rehabilitation, but without proper funding, not much can be done.

The roads in WyCo that need significant repair are: 5.2 miles of Exchange Street in Attica and Orangeville; 5.2 Miles of Simmons Road in Perry; 4.8 Miles of Telegraph Road in Pike and Eagle; 3.5 miles of Perry Road in Sheldon and Java; 1.8 miles of Star Road in Covington; and 1.8 miles of Castile Center in Castile.

The quality of the roads are reaching a breaking point, though.

“There’s not much structural integrity on putting an inch-and-a-half layer of asphalt overlay,” Gadd said. “The roads listed are beyond just preventative maintenance; they need major rehabilitation.”

Those interested in reaching out to officials regarding funding for Upstate infrastructure can head to rebuildnynow.org.