UTICA, N.Y. — New York will have the opportunity to dedicate roughly $500 million in low-interest loans for communities needing infrastructure work, ranging from repairing roads to improving sewer pipes, U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna announced Monday.
Hanna said they’re seeking to add the State Transportation and Infrastructure Financing Innovation Act that would allow states to establish infrastructure banks using existing federal transportation dollars through 2014 to the federal highway bill.
“The Northeast has some of the oldest infrastructure in the world,” Hanna said during a news conference at Utica City Hall.
Of the $3.4 billion that New York has amassed in the last three years, he said 10 percent to 15 percent could be allocated for the loans.
Hanna said municipal governments will be able to use this as a tool to aid in funding much-needed infrastructure projects. This is something the state would have to opt into and then determine which community projects warrant the loans, he added. In the city, everyone is familiar with the rough roads this winter has brought.
“There’s always a pressing need. Just take a ride on our streets,” Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri said. “This program is going to give the city a little more flexibility on where the money has to go.”
Palmieri recognized the challenges municipalities face when it comes to financing local transportation projects.
“This legislation can provide more options for cities like Utica to ensure critical local transportation projects are funded,” he said. “I thank (Hanna) for taking proactive leadership in proposing this legislation.”
Hanna said he expects things to be finalized by the end of the year, and communities could then gain access to the funding early next year.