The Legislature began its annual review of the Executive Budget proposal last week, beginning with the transportation aspects of the Governor’s 2016-17 spending plan.

On Wednesday, lawmakers questioned state Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Matt Driscoll about the $20 billion that Gov. Cuomo has proposed for DOT to spend to fix roads and bridges throughout the state.

Some lawmakers expressed frustration that the Commissioner could not provide them with a list of projects that DOT plans to undertake as part of its proposed 5-year capital plan. He told them that while some $3 billion for state-owned highways and bridges and increases in mass transit funding will be included, the specifics of the plan are not expected to be available until later in the budget season.

Highlights of the Governor’s transportation proposals in his proposed budget include highlighted some of Cuomo’s proposals for this year, including $700 million in settlement funds to go toward a Thruway investment plan that will avoid toll increases until 2020, $438 million for local highway and bridge projects, $500 million to make roads safer during flooding and other extreme weather, and a $200 million contest to improve five Upstate airports.

Legislative budget hearings continue this week on the following topics:

  • Monday:         Health/Medicaid
  • Tuesday:         Local Government Officials/General Government
  • Wednesday:   Elementary/Secondary Education
  • Thursday:       Environmental Conservation