Officials in New York all want a bite at the apple, and transportation funding appears to be a low-hanging fruit.
According to a report that was released Feb. 5, only 22% of the $3.8 billion collected annually to address highway and bridge work goes towards those projects. The rest of the money is used to cover state budget costs.
“Taxpayers have paid billions in taxes and fees into a fund that was created to keep our roads and bridges in good repair,” said New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. “Now, more than three-quarters of this money is siphoned off to pay for borrowing and operating costs of state agencies, leaving fewer dollars for improving our infrastructure.”
DiNapoli revealed that in 2009, 35% of the money collected was used for road and bridge repairs. Of the 22% spent in FY 2013, $1.6 billion was for snow and ice removal and to cover the day-to-day expenses of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The picture is not expected to improve much in 2014. DiNapoli said only 23.5% of the money collected would be used for capital projects.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo does not agree with DiNapoli’s numbers, and said the report left out major investments in transportation infrastructure.
A bill is moving around the state legislature that would remove the winter maintenance and DMV expenses from the equation over the next five years.