Gaughran, Stern Laud Passage of Bills to Support Huntington Highways and Drivers
Following passage of two major bills to support local roadways, Senator Jim Gaughran and Assemblyman Steve Stern join Town of Huntington Highway Superintendent Kevin Orelli at the Huntington Highway Department to laud passage of bills passed to support Huntington Highways and drivers. The first bill, S.4363, raises the limits on amounts to be raised for capital expenditures used for the repair and improvement of highways in the Town of Huntington from $400,000 to $1,000,000, bringing them in line with neighboring municipalities. The second bill, S.5422, protects drivers by expanding the State’s liability for damages suffered by individuals due to defects in state highways.
Senator Jim Gaughran said “These bills are important protections to allow safe and swift repair of our local roadways and to our motorists. S.4363 modernizes an arcane statute and allows the Town to respond quickly and appropriately during an emergency. S.5422 protects local motorists on state roadways, because drivers should not be stuck paying out-of-pocket for damages caused by a defect in a state highway that should have been repaired. I was proud to work with my partners in state government to support our superb Highway Superintendent Kevin Orelli and motorists.”
These bills will provide critical support for local roadways and motorists. S.4363 will modernize a 40-year old statute that limited the Town of Huntington to $400,000 annually for road repair and improvement, a significant hurdle as the population has grown and particularly during times of emergency. The previous limit hamstrung the Town’s efforts to swiftly and safely repair roads and this modernization brings the Town in line with neighboring towns including Smithtown, which has a $800,000 limit and a sizably smaller population. Huntington’s population as of the 2010 census was 203,264 population; Smithtown’s as of 2010 was 117,801. S.5422 will protect drivers by expanding the State’s liability for damages suffered by individuals due to defects in state highways. Currently, motorists who suffer damage due to defects on local roads may pursue damages against the locality at any time during the year so long as the municipality had advance notice of the defect. Yet motorists who suffer damage due to defects in state roads may pursue these damages against the state only if the incident occurred between May 15 and November 15. Statewide reports of the poor conditions of state roadways — some with 3 foot wide potholes and other ongoing defects — highlight the need to modify this statute and allow motorists to seek damages all year long. New York motorists should not have to pay out-of-pocket for damages caused by a defect in a state highway that should have been repaired. This bill will fairly protect motorists who were previously stuck with the financial burden due to inaction or slow action by the State. Both bills await the Governor’s signature.