Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R, C, Ref-Mahopac) is pleased to announce that funding for the Extreme Winter Recovery (EWR) Program, which was originally cut from the 2019-2020 budget, has been restored during the end of session negotiations. The program will receive $65 million in funding statewide, the same as last year.
“Restoring funding to the Extreme Winter Recovery Program is a win for all New Yorkers,” said Byrne. “As co-chair of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Critical Infrastructure & Transportation, I have been continuously sounding the alarm to increase attention and support for our state’s infrastructure needs. While I was utterly disappointed to see this program cut in our budget earlier this year, I am delighted to see that after months of pushing and hard work, we successfully restored this funding in the budget clean-up bill this past week.”
Local roads constitute almost 90 percent of total mileage in the state, with 97,584 locally-owned miles versus 15,097 state-owned miles. Of the 17,462 bridges in New York, half are owned by local governments. Of that half, 12.8 percent are structurally deficient and 20.7 percent are functionally obsolete, which makes it of critical importance that the state provides adequate financial support for the men and women who maintain our local roads.
While Byrne has expressed that there is still much more work to be done, he believes that restoring funding to the Extreme Winter Recovery Program is a critical step in the right direction toward maintaining our infrastructure while protecting our already over-burdened property taxpayers. “Every dollar New York state invests in our roads and infrastructure supports our local highway departments, helps our economy and takes the burden off property taxpayers.”
Upon learning about the restoration of funding, Yorktown Highway Superintendent Dave Paganelli said, “I extend gratitude on behalf of myself and the Town of Yorktown. Assemblyman Byrne is always fighting for funding and the $77,000 we will receive annually from Extreme Winter Recovery aid will allow us to pave another road every year. Kevin understands that snow is not an effective measure of a severe winter. We just had a winter that had 23 freeze-thaw cycles, which does true damage to our roadways. Kevin gets it and continues to advocate for us.”
Carmel Highway Superintendent Michael Simone added, “Municipalities depend on state aid to help us maintain and improve our local infrastructure. That’s why it was so concerning when the state completely cut funding for the Extreme Winter Recovery Program from the budget earlier this year. I would like to thank Assemblyman Byrne for his great effort to restore this much-needed funding that benefits Carmel roads and provides property-tax relief to our residents.”