Cayuga County bridges need more work than local governments can possibly afford to pay for, but the time might be ripe to get some help from the federal government.
Analysis from the office of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli shows that bridges owned by New York municipalities need more than $27 billion in repairs. And Cayuga County has among the highest percentage of bridges rated "structurally deficient" — still safe to drive on but clearly in need of attention.
This report is a helpful reminder that this need is out there, and the longer we wait, the worse the problem will get and the more expensive it will become to deal with.
So as lawmakers in Washington hash out a new infrastructure package, we urge Rep. Jonh Katko and Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to push hard for major federal infrastructure investment in upstate communities.
We recall President Donald Trump actually mentioned infrastructure before any other policy agenda in his election night acceptance speech:
"We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We're going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none, and we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it."
So while we anticipate billions of dollars in infrastructure spending to be approved by Congress, the question becomes, where will that money be spent?
If Katko, Schumer and Gillibrand and the rest of the New York delegation can get together and come up with an effective bipartisan plan for infrastructure, they could find cooperation from the White House — a combination that's been extremely elusive in the first year of the Trump administration.