“I’ve declared war on potholes, so here’s the first shot across the bow: a $1 billion plan called Operation POP (Pave Our Potholes),” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said while unveiling her FY 2023 Budget. “This strategy takes us from potholes to not-holes.” With more than $13 billion in new federal funding flowing to New York over the next five years, the governor is on the attack.
The money for Operation Pave Our Potholes will be funneled through the state Department of Transportation’s five-year, $32.8 billion capital plan, which looks to modernize New York’s highways and bridges. The capital plan commits $150 million in local highway aid annually and $200 million per year over five years for Operation Pave Our Potholes, of which New York City should receive $108 million in increased transportation aid.
Certainly, attacking potholes is an initiative all New Yorkers can get behind, some of her other infrastructure initiatives are more controversial. Specifically, the replacement of I-81 in Syracuse, a major regional freight thoroughfare. Projects such as improving Hunt’s Point Interstate access, modernizing the Livingston Avenue Bridge in Albany; reconnecting neighborhoods across the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo; converting Route 17 to I-86 in Orange and Sullivan Counties; and assessing ways to improve road capacity at the Oakdale Merge in Suffolk County, were mentioned as well.
Another key budget point is helping New York’s small businesses by providing:
- Funding for Small Businesses of the Future – Capital and venture debt awards to emerging small businesses in the innovation sector, including minority-and-women-owned companies often overlooked by venture investments.
- Seed Funding for Small Business – A $200 million flexible grant program for early-stage businesses recently opened despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Small Business Lending Initiative – Provide reduced interest rate and accessible loans to expanding small businesses.