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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Five Towns villages receive bump for road upgrades
Courtesy Matthew Libbey
Five Towns villages will receive an increase in money for road repair projects. Atlantic Beach village is in the process of fixing its boardwalk, which was damaged in Hurricane Sandy.

Seven villages in the Five Towns area are expected to receive an increase in money that is targeted to pay for local highway, road and bridge repair projects.

Included in the approved state budget for 2013-14 is $438 million in funding for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) that includes an overall $75 million boost in funding, the first for CHIPS since the 2008-09 budget.

Atlantic Beach, Cedarhurst, Hewlett Bay Park, Hewlett Harbor, Hewlett Neck, Lawrence and Woodsburgh will all receive more than 25 percent increases. Despite its small size, Atlantic Beach has multiple repair projects in progress due to Hurricane Sandy.

Village Mayor Stephen Mahler called the little more than $10,000 bump a “little drop in the bucket.” “The difference is very small considering the amount of projects underway,” Mahler said referring to the restoration of the boardwalk, bulkheads and road repair that is being done after Sandy.

Mahler said that the village, which is keeping strict accounts of the repair work, will seek reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for all work related to the hurricane.

Cedarhurst Mayor Andrew Parise said that the amount of money received through CHIPS is welcome, but he too said it was small in proportion to the cost of the village’s needed road repair. Parise estimates it to be $2 million.

“We have a number of roads that are in horrible condition,” said Parise, adding that Cedarhurst budgets $50,000 annually for road improvements. “We are looking to bond it [borrow money]. That is a decision that has to be made soon,” he said. Rugby, Marlborough, Albemarle and Oxford roads, along with others in the village’s flood zone could be targeted for repair.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the budget is about jobs and investing in rebuilding the state’s transportation infrastructure would help local economies grow and create those jobs. “During these difficult fiscal times, this $75 million increase in CHIPS funding is a big victory for our state’s localities that will be able to use these much-needed funds to make repairs to local highways, bridges and roads, and at the same time support job growth and economic development in their communities,” Cuomo stated in a release.

Village 12/13 CHIPS total 13/14 CHIPS CHIPS increase

Atlantic Beach $39,863.60 $50,326.0 $10,462.60

Cedarhurst $61,549.40 $77,303.83 $15,754.47

Hewlett Bay Park $19,632.18 $24587.96 $4,955.78

Hewlett Harbor $37,612.62 $47,544.25 $9,931.63

Hewlett Neck $13,233.42 $16,778.89 $3,545.47

Lawrence $108,918.78 $137,209.89 $28,291.11

Woodsburgh $18,956.38 $23,993.66 $5,037.28

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