The state Senate approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Jospeh Griffo R-Rome, which would allow local governments more flexibility in maintaining roads with low traffic.
Griffo, who represents central and eastern St. Lawrence County, said the Senate unanimously approved the bill recently.
The bill would amend the state highway law and vehicle and traffic law, and allow towns to designate certain roads as low-volume and minimum maintenance roads.
Roads are classified as “low-volume” to cut costs associated with bringing certain roads to state or national designs standards.
“As a former Mayor and County Executive, I know that highway costs make up a significant portion of budget expenditures—at times more than 50 percent for many towns in our region,” Griffo said. “Allowing towns to designate and prioritize which roadways are minimum maintenance and low-volume will provide financial flexibility without jeopardizing road safety.”
He said the legislation would establish a comprehensive and transparent process for towns to designate recreational or agricultural roads as minimum maintenance.
The bill also ensures that low-volume and minimum maintenance roads can continue to be used at a low-cost as management tools to help towns maintain access to working landscapes, such as forests, lands, recreational areas and agriculture, Griffo said.
“Albany must show leadership in giving mandate relief for municipal governments and schools,” Griffo said. “Mandate relief is essential to avoid cuts to local community services and to avoid forcing governments to consider raising taxes above the 2 percent property tax cap.”
This marks the third year in a row that the Senate has approved the measure, according to Griffo.