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Albany hopes to dole out more cash for fixing potholes, bridges

Traffic on Interstate 287 in White Plains on

Traffic on Interstate 287 in White Plains on Nov. 21, 2012. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Daza

Hudson Valley communities are in line to receive more state funding to fill potholes, repave cracked roads and fix rickety bridges this summer, if Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state legislative leaders have their way.

On Monday, the officials said they planned to provide $438 million to aid New York municipalities seeking to repair their transportation infrastructure, an increase of almost 21 percent, in the budget they are formulating for the fiscal year that begins April 1.

"This budget is about jobs, jobs, jobs," Cuomo said in a statement. "By investing in rebuilding our state's transportation infrastructure, we are helping to grow local economies and create jobs in all corners of the state."

Both Democrats and Republicans provided quotes in support of the funding for the governor's statement, suggesting that the measure will have broad support in the Legislature.

Five counties in the Hudson Valley would receive a total of $34.3 million under the package, around $5.9 million more than last year.

Jay Bilotta, the vice president of Rye-based Bilotta Construction, said he might hire more workers and keep them working longer into the winter if towns use that extra money to seek bidders for large road projects.

"For us, it's an opportunity," he said.

But Bilotta and others cautioned that the money wouldn't result in a massive overhaul of local thoroughfares. It costs around $200,000 to resurface one mile of a two-lane road, he said. The total aid package therefore would pay for repaving only around 171.5 miles of roads in the Hudson Valley.

Local officials welcomed the news, saying the extra cash would allow them to address damage wrought by superstorm Sandy and catch up on projects that have been languishing. The state hasn't significantly increased funding for road and bridge repairs since 2008, they said.

Though thankful for the additional funding, they added that they were still struggling to maintain their infrastructure.

The Town of Ossining would receive more than $37,000 in aid under the budget proposal, around 28 percent more than last year. But that's still not enough to fix everything that needs fixing, said Ossining Town Supervisor Susanne Donnelly.

"It's not a windfall," Donnelly said. "At least it's a step in the right direction. The potholes are already coming out."

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