A bill approved by the state Senate Monday would allow municipalities to designate some local roads as “low use” and save money by reducing maintenance on them.
The bill, cosponsored in the Senate by North Country Senators Patty Ritchie (R-Heuvelton) and Joe Griffo (R-Rome), is awaiting action in the Assembly.
The “low use” roads legislation was one of the recommendations of Sen. Ritchie’s Mandate Relief Working Group, a panel of local government officials tapped to find ways to cut Albany-imposed mandates, provide greater flexibility to local governments, reduce spending, and save taxpayer dollars.
The bill, S.3641-A, would amend the highway law and vehicle and traffic law to allow towns to designate certain roads as low-volume and minimum-maintenance roads. This would cut costs associated with keeping some roads up to state or national designs standards.
“For many towns in our region, highway costs make up a significant portion of expenditures—at times more than 50 percent. By letting towns designate which roadways are minimum maintenance and low-volume, we ensure that they aren’t held to standards that are just too costly to maintain,” said Ritchie.
These low-volume roads do not require as much upkeep—like required plowing for example—therefore saving municipalities money. The legislation would establish a comprehensive and transparent process for towns to designate recreational or agricultural roads as minimum maintenance.
“Mandates like these are Albany’s way of passing the buck to local governments, and ultimately to taxpayers. I’m pleased to have the opportunity to help do away with mandates like this, and look forward to working towards keeping more money in the pockets of hard-working New Yorkers in the future,” said Ritchie.
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.
Copies of Sen. Ritchie's Mandate Relief Working Group reports can be found at http://www.nysenate.gov/press-release/ritchie-hears-mandate-relief-ideas...