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Assemblywoman says extra state money to fix Syracuse roads is 'use or lose'

Tom Magnarelli
The Syracuse Common Council.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently allocated an additional $1.5 million in funding to improve roads in Syracuse. But it is money that state legislators are warning the city needs to spend now.

State Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter (D-Syracuse) described it as “use or lose” to the Syracuse Common Council when referring to the extra funds coming from the state Department of Transportation.

“It’s allocated to you, but any natural disaster could happen in this state or anything could happen and it could be gone,” Hunter said. "Every dollar that we fight for is a precious dollar. Infrastructure money has been hard to come by upstate. I want to make sure that if money is allocated, via the state budget, to local municipalities, that they're using it when they get the money and not holding onto it."

There was some confusion among councilors over whether the funding could roll over or be held. The $1.5 million is in addition to $2.5 million the state allocated earlier this year to Syracuse, being used on road reconstruction. And the city does have plans to spend the extra money on bike lanes on the east side and other roads that still need to be determined.

“There are many roads that need to be fixed and knowing the city didn’t have the money in its own budget, and knowing you have an allocation of new dollars, we need to jump on this right now,” Hunter said.

Hunter said hospitals in Syracuse and other municipalities also received millions of additional dollars that they were not expecting for capital improvement projects.