The pair made the announcement under the Evans Street bridge in Syracuse, a timber decked bridge built in 1927 that is one of five of the city’s off-system bridges which have been rated as deficient by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT).
“With off-system bridge funding being drastically cut, the number of bridge repairs we are able to make on local roads will be reduced,” Mayor Miner stated. “This is first and foremost an issue of safety for our motorists. Additionally, we need to make it clear that the best way to stimulate our economy is by having a first-class infrastructure, so the private sector can compete, and grow the economy.”
“Too many of New York’s roads, bridges, and water and sewer systems need repair or replacement,” DiNapoli added. “For our state’s economic future, we need to fix them. And we must do a better job in prioritizing capital projects, and in identifying funding for critical infrastructure.”
According to a city press release, the state reduced the amount of funding localities could receive for bridges which were not part of major arterials in 2013. NYSDOT allocates those state funds to the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council (SMTC).
“New funding through the Surface Transportation Off-System Bridge program (STP-OSB) has been at $2,177,000 since the program’s establishment,” the press release stated. “That funding is allocated to SMTC, which works with its members to fairly divide the money between city, county, and other municipal projects. A share of the money is paid to NYSDOT for bridge inspections. It was recently revealed that beginning in fiscal year 2016, the funding would be cut to $479,000 annually (after New York state inspection fees are paid) to be shared between the city and county through fiscal year 2020/2021.”
The city said it will cost $862,000 to fix the Evans Street Bridge, and, this repair, along with several others on a priority list, will be made with funding allocations by the SMTC. However, according to Miner, the funding of future bridge repairs remains uncertain.
“This decrease in funding is unacceptable, and we need state and federal partners to step up, and make infrastructure a priority,” she stated. “I’m pleased to have the support of State Comptroller DiNapoli in this effort to ensure our communities get the infrastructure funding they need.”
Miner has made raising awareness of infrastructure issues a top priority of her administration. She’s testified before the New York State Legislature, and submitted testimony before the United States Senate detailing the needs of the city. Miner has also met with New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, and U.S. Representatives Bill Shuster, John Katko, and Paul Tonko to discuss infrastructure issues as well.
In June, she also attended the Clinton Global Initiative to discuss solutions to state and local infrastructure issues.
Additionally, DiNapoli has issued several reports on New York’s state and local infrastructure needs, including a 2014 report titled Cracks in the Foundation, which found local government capital spending on roads, bridges and water and sewer systems had declined by 8 percent between 2010 and 2012.
“Municipalities should be spending about $3.9 billion annually, in order to keep up with deteriorating capital assets, but have only been spending roughly $1.2 billion – less than a third of what is necessary,” DiNapoli stated.
Visit http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/infrastructure2014.pdf to view the full report.