Counties request federal infrastructure funding

Counties request federal infrastructure funding

As part of a call for federal funding, the New York State Association of Counties has submitted a list of infrastructure projects from 40 counties statewide totaling more than $7.35 billion. Monroe County was omitted from the request, although selected infrastructure projects were included with the letter.

The letter, sent late last month to President Donald Trump and congressional leaders, calls for immediate action on infrastructure investment as part of any future economic stimulus packages. NYSAC projects that counties outside New York City actually need more than $10.8 billion in infrastructure funding and that fully funding the projects could create or save up to 200,000 jobs, helping to revitalize local economies as they begin the process of recovering from the economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now is the time to innovate, to invest in our future and to rebuild a stronger, smarter infrastructure for the good of all,” said NYSAC President John Marren in a statement. “It is in this spirit of renewal that we presented these project recommendations to our federal partners. These projects represent a significant opportunity to jumpstart our economy, add construction and trade jobs to our workforce and strengthen our infrastructure for the next generation of Americans.”

Officials noted that the request for funding comes at a time when counties are grappling with dramatic drops in revenues. Sales tax revenues for the month of May were down 32 percent statewide. NYSAC’s most recent Coronavirus Economic Impact Report projects that counties outside New York City will face revenue losses of up to $2 billion and the potential of another $1.5 billion in state budget cuts.

The six-county Rochester metropolitan area requests totaled nearly $394 million:
• Genesee County — $183.85 million
• Livingston County — $10.97 million
• Monroe County — $47.22 million
• Ontario County — $54.78 million
• Orleans County — $40.35 million
• Wayne County — $210 million

Notably, Genesee County is seeking more than $70 million for a shared Genesee County and Orleans County jail and temporary holding center in Albion that would have 181 beds and six holding cells. The county also is seeking $57 million for a countywide water project.

The bulk of Livingston County’s infrastructure needs include $3 million for a public market and $5 million for Livingston County Gateway Park. The county has planned an agribusiness park on more than 1.5 million acres of property in the town of Livonia.

The County of Monroe is looking for $8.35 million for the rehabilitation of East River Road from the Thruway to Ward Lane, as well as $6.15 million to rehab Hinchey Road from Pixley Road to Chili Avenue. Nearly $4 million is being requested to reconstruct Calkins Road from East Henrietta Road to Pinnacle Road.

Among Ontario County’s more than 40 projects, county officials are requesting $8.75 million for improvements to the Honeoye Lake wastewater plant; $6 million for Phase 2 of the Finger Lakes Community College nursing expansion; and $4.15 million for rehabilitation of County Road 16 to extend its useful life.

Orleans County is in need of $17.43 million for its Department of Public Works infrastructure improvements and $12.46 million for its shared water service infrastructure project, among other things.

Wayne County’s detailed list was not included in the NYSAC documents.

NYSAC noted that despite sales tax revenue losses, counties are required under state law to fully fund ad administer all state and federal programs, which are in high demand during the pandemic.

“Every community in New York has been severely impacted by COVID-19 and the corresponding economic shutdown in response to the virus,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario. “The infrastructure projects that we are presenting to Congress and the president today are a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide an economic shot in the arm and reshape these communities better and stronger than ever before.”

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