Adoption of minimum maintenance road laws is a tool that towns across Tug Hill and other rural areas of New York State (NYS) have used for decades using their home rule authority and powers under Highway and Vehicle & Traffic Law. However, based on several legal challenges from landowners on minimum maintenance roads that want year-round access it has been apparent that state law authority is needed to provide additional authority for town designations.
For many years, various bills have been introduced in both the NYS Senate and Assembly. In the current 2023-24 legislative session, A02225/S01836 has been introduced and sent to each houses’ transportation committees. Many entities have support passage of this legislation over the years, including Tug Hill towns and councils of governments, and statewide entities such as the Association of Town Highway Superintendents and Association of Towns of NYS, among others. Additionally, the Climate Action Council Scoping Plan finalized last month included a recommendation to “expand legislation to secure local government’s ability to designate Minimum Maintenance Roads to reduce subdivision and development pressure on roads that may result in conversion of farmland and forestland to other land uses.” The Tug Hill Commission will track progress of this bill.