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MAP-21 Program To Bring $6B To NY Transportation

Gino Geruntino, WIBX

Utica, NY (WIBX) – Congressman Richard Hanna was in Utica to discuss the recent passage of  a new transportation bill.

According to Hanna, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century bill, is a two year program injecting about $6 billion into New York’s transportation projects.

MAP-21 divides $105 Billion nationwide, but also reduces project times and cuts programs by two-thirds.

In addition, the $6 billion the state is receiving equates to 4.34% of the total amount allotted nationwide and is aimed to create more jobs while rebuilding crumbling infrastructure.

“A lot of what we have in this bill is good, it’s good to work off of, but we really need -the average project today is about 13 to 14 years for a large project,” Hanna said. “We’ve reduced that because we’re doing some concurrent approval processes, and there are mandatory deadlines associated with the approval process now. It still makes it hard to plan with a two-year bill.”

Hanna says he is pressing for more long term bills, to continue improving state infrastructure, but is proud of the accomplishment they’ve made thus far. The congressman also says MAP-21 was “a much harder lift” due to its lack of earmarks.

Alex Herrgott, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, says the bill’s passage is still monumental.

“The highway program is the economic backbone of the country,” Herrgott said. “That’s how we transport things, that’s how we connect our cities. Without robust funding for a free-flowing freight network, we’ll choke the economy. With a choked economy, we can’t begin to compete with the other industrialized countries.”

Congress passed the last transportation bill in 2005, but it expired three years ago. Since then, short-term extensions held the program together.

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