Assemblyman renews call for creation of a CHIPS-like state program for towns & cities to protect water, sewer, storm water infrastructure & save tax dollars
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) today says two water main breaks in Rotterdam and a sewer break in Amsterdam underscore the continued urgent need for a new state program to repair and maintain vital local drinking water, sewer, storm water management and gas line infrastructure to protect lives, secure the viability of roads and bridges aboveground, and save tax dollars.
The Safe Water infrastructure Action Program (S.W.A.P.) is for drinking water, storm water, sanitary sewer and gas line infrastructure and is modeled on the popular and successful CHIPS program for local roads and bridges. S.W.A.P. was conceived by Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett, who brought the concept to Tedisco to craft into legislation (A.9651/S.7389). Senator Phil Boyle (R-Suffolk County) is sponsoring the bill in the Senate.
Unlike, the current “Hunger Games-like” competitive grant program for water infrastructure that’s now in place and only benefits a few towns who win a grant chosen by the Administration, S.W.A.P. would provide annual funding to all municipalities in the state via a fair and transparent formula similar to the CHIPs program to allow them to identify and swap out old, deteriorating pipes, water mains and gas lines to better maintain the state’s infrastructure.
“The longer our state waits to fix its aging underground infrastructure the worse the problem will get and the more lives that could potentially be negatively impacted when breaks occur,” said Tedisco.
“The monster lurking under the aging water and sewer infrastructure of our towns and cities will not go away if we just closed our eyes and wished it away. On the contrary, that monster can catastrophically attack at any time the safety of our drinking water, sewer and gas lines and the ability of taxpayers to afford repairs,” said Tedisco. “Replicating the success of the CHIPS program on the state level to allow local governments to S.W.A.P.-out deteriorating drinking water, storm water, gas lines and sanitary sewer infrastructure makes sense because an ounce of prevention now can save tax dollars later and prevent costly breaks.”
Much of the infrastructure under New York State is aging, and in some cases, dates back to the Civil War. In January, a century-old water main break in Troy caused a major disruption for the Collar City and a ripple-effect for several towns that purchase water from the city who were forced to declare states of emergency to conserve water.
Tedisco noted that several municipalities have expressed support for S.W.A.P. and passed local resolutions including Saratoga County, Troy and the towns of Clifton Park, Ballston, Glenville, Halfmoon, Malta, East Greenbush and Corinth.