Hanna: Bill has $6B for NY

The state will get about $6 billion in federal aid for highway and mass transit programs over the next two years while regional impacts are to be determined, under a federal transportation bill addressed today by local officials.

The bill, approved Friday in Congress, means "we now have two years of steady federal funding coming to New York State so we can invest in our ailing roads and bridges," said Rep. Richard L. Hanna, R-24, Barneveld.

He discussed the bill’s impact this morning, joined at the county public works garage in Whitestown by state Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald, state Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome, and County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr.

Nationwide, the bill will allow more than $100 billion for highway, mass transit and other transportation programs during the next two years. Thousands of jobs will be created in New York, according to Hanna’s announcement. For the state, highway funding will be maintained at about $1.6 billion annually, while public transportation funding will be about $1.4 billion, plus other funding categories.

Amounts for specific regional or county projects will be determined at the state level, said Hanna’s office. Hanna negotiated concessions from the Senate’s version of the bill that he said would have devastated metropolitan planning organizations in Utica, Rome and Binghamton.

Griffo said the bill will "keep transportation funding flowing from Washington," and improves the planning process to hopefully "shorten the time spent in reviewing projects that need to be fast-tracked to help our communities and our economy."

Picente said the county "could have ill afforded the complete halt that could have followed if this bill had not been passed." Its long-term provisions "will enable the state to undertake major road and bridge construction projects in our county," he added.