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Hochul praises budget funding for Long Island during visit to her gubernatorial rivals' hometown

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announces $157 million investment in pavement renewal projects on Long Island.
Darren McGee
Office of Governor Kathy Hochul
New York Governor Kathy Hochul announces $157 million investment in pavement renewal projects on Long Island.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul visited Long Island on Tuesday to praise regional investments that are included in the next state budget.

It allocates $500 million for local workforce development for the offshore wind industry, and increases school aid by over $450 million. It also spends $350 million on economic development projects on Long Island.

Hochul said the $221 billion state budget will make a real difference in the lives of Long Islanders.

“We'll not only recover from this pandemic, we'll emerge stronger than before, because I have a dream. I have a dream I spoke about on my first day,” Hochul recalled, since taking office in August. “I said, ‘It's not just about people coming here for the American dream,’ like so many did, like my grandparents fleeing poverty.”

“‘There's also the New York dream,’” Hochul said.

Hochul also announced the state will spend nearly $160 million to repair potholes across Long Island. The money will come from the state’s five-year, $33 billion capital plan.

This money will help Long Island repair 480 miles of roadway, including key sections of the Long Island Expressway, Southern State Parkway, and Meadowbrook State Parkway.

Hochul said she understands the frustration of the dangerous roads.

“Everyone’s complaining about potholes. No one has hit more potholes in the State of New York than I have, because I've traveled 372,000 miles, not by plane, all on the road. And so, I've had a personal encounter,” Hochul said.

With over six months as governor, Hochul made a commitment to spending $1 billion to attack potholes across the state. Potholes and road repair have become a talking point for the upcoming election for governor.

Shoshana Hershkowitz, who heads the Suffolk County Progressives, said the group is disappointed in the state’s budget.

“Our government must serve the needs of all constituents, especially the most vulnerable members of our society. While we welcome the funds for Long Island's crumbling infrastructure, we are deeply disappointed in how Governor Hochul's budget underfunds childcare, housing, healthcare, and climate initiatives,” Hershkowitz said. “We decry the last minute bail reform rollbacks that will disproportionately harm communities of color, and the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from budgetary priorities.”

Hershkowitz also said the Suffolk County Progressive took issue with the budget being delayed and the “behind closed doors process” that occurred in the final hours.

Jesse Garcia, the chairman of Suffolk County Republican Party, said the budget does not do enough for Long Island.

" Hochul, and the failed progressive Democrats who control Albany under a one-party rule system, continue to shortchange Suffolk County and Long Island taxpayers,” Garcia said.

“This investment is a drop in the bucket based on the tens of millions of dollars Long Island taxpayers and small business owners contribute each year to the state coffers.”

Hochul will face Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams in the Democratic Party Primary in June.

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.