Legislators hold hearing on plan to increase road and bridge repair budget
Erie County lawmakers held a public hearing on Monday regarding plans to appropriate more than $13 million in additional funds to help pay for this year’s road and bridge repair costs.The funding would bring the overall road and bridge budget over the $30 million mark, which Buffalo resident Daniel Sack said he is not happy about.
“People in Buffalo contribute to the county property taxes also,” said Sack. “A good amount of money comes from the City of Buffalo, and there’s no county highways here. So why is there that unfairness? I don’t understand it.”
Legislator Lynn Dixon, Independent from Erie County's 9th District, said investments made in the city tend to focus more on cultural institutions, youth programs and libraries, whereas suburbs get more focus on infrastructure. She said at the end of the day, the county budget balances out and road repair cannot be ignored, especially given the effects of a long winter.
The list of additional repairs outside of the original 2015 budget for $21.1 million were somewhat recently produced. Dixon said she questioned Public Works Commissioner John Loffredo on why it was not offered sooner. She said road crews want to get ahead of the projects before less favorable fall weather.
“They want to get those lists as quickly as possible so that they’re not fighting the weather in late October,” Dixon said. “So I would have liked to have received the list a bit sooner, but this is what we’re working with, and hopefully the crews can get out there as soon as possible and get all the necessary roadwork done this road construction season.”
Dixon said only about half of the $30 million for repairs comes from county dollars. She said much of the funding is leveraged federal money.