There may be some good news for the city’s pothole problems. Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs and members of the Erie County Majority Caucus have proposed a law that would see additional funds (derived from excess revenues generated by the Erie County Auto Bureau), diverted into a dedicated road fund.
Until now there has simply been a County “general fund”, which means that excess money collected, via motor vehicle fees and taxes, was not being fully earmarked for the roads and bridges. It is said that the Erie County Road Fund could bring in an additional $15 million dollars (over four years), which would then be used for repair and upkeep of Erie County Roads and Bridges.
“If we start this program in 2016 we estimate generating $15-20 million dollars over 4 years, a significant increase in the amount of dollars devoted to our roads,” said Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs. “This increased annual funding could translate into 30-40 additional miles of roads over 4 years, or a major increase in our level of snowplow coverage.”
“By approving this local law, the Legislature would ensure that the County Road Fund receives a boost in funding. The result of this increased investment will be additional road projects being completed each year. The revenues are currently generated through the Auto Bureau so this will not come as an increased cost to taxpayers. What the law accomplishes is simply designating a specific funding source for road projects. I think one of our biggest challenges in Erie County is maintaining more than 1,200 lane miles and the extra funding will go a long way to ensuring safe roadways and bridges for residents,” said Legislator Rath.
“We now see with all the potholes on county roads that more resources are needed to deal with our deteriorating infrastructure,” said Legislator Lynne Dixon, a supporter of this local law.
Jacobs added, “We also hope that if motorists know that their auto bureau fees will go to road upkeep they will consider renewing their registration and license locally so part of the fee revenue stays here.”
If passed, the law would be subjected to voter approval on the November ballot.