Critics: Federal highway bill needs to go further

The House of Representatives has approved a transportation bill that includes more than $260 billion for the nation's highways, but Long Island bridge and road

Members of the LI Contractors Association hope lawmakers will find more funding and recognize the need for infrastructure.

Members of the LI Contractors Association hope lawmakers will find more funding and recognize the need for infrastructure. (11/6/15)

LINDENHURST - The House of Representatives has approved a transportation bill that includes more than $260 billion for the nation's highways, but Long Island bridge and road builders say it's not enough.

The bill authorizes spending through the 2021 federal budget year, including an estimated $30 million for Long Island. However, it provides money for only the first three years because lawmakers couldn't agree on a way to pay for it all. At least $400 billion over six years is needed to prevent traffic congestion across the country from getting worse, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has said.

Marc Herbst, of the LI Contractors Association, agrees. He says that while the group is glad to see funding for the next three years, something needs to be done to ensure roads and infrastructure get the attention they need.

Herbst says they are hopeful that during the negotiations with the Senate, lawmakers will find more funding, although he says their plans involve just "patching up" instead of rebuilding any infrastructure.

"Everything is turned into a maintenance program, so what they're doing now is just pothole repairs," says Herbst.

According to Herbst, nearly half of the bridges on Long Island need to be replaced and repaired.  He says that with the money they are guaranteed, they can begin on projects like widening the Sagtikos Parkway and completing Route 347.

"Did we get everything we want? No, but this is a step in the right direction," says Herbst.

The U.S. Senate Highway Bill contains $80 billion more than the House bill for infrastructure improvements, and is expected to pass and be reconciled with the House version in the next few weeks. 

AP wire services contributed to this report.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Top 5 Must See

Long Island can expect powerful winds and heavy 1 Nor'easter expected to bring strong winds, heavy rain
The incident happened at Manor Field Park 2 Suspects sought in attack on teen in Huntington Station park
Prosecutors say O'Neil Sharpe Jr. caused the fiery 3 Man accused in fatal DWI on SSP to appear in court
Cycle for Survival is the movement to beat 4 Cycle for Survival: Fighting rare cancers
The high winds expected with the nor'easter could 5 South Shore communities prep for nor'easter

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

Each week, News 12's Doug Geed explores the Check out fun things to do on the East End!

Explore the Twin Forks with News 12's Doug Geed.

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Dog Day Fridays Series

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Long Island with pets up for adoption.

News 12 digs deep to find Long Island's Discover Long Island's Hidden Past

News 12's Danielle Campbell digs into Long Island's roots.

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long On The Spot

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long Islanders know about everything and anything.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE