Senators to feds: Set aside computer chips for plow trucks


A pair of upstate legislators is asking the federal government to take action to make sure roads get plowed this winter.

State Sens. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, and Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, announced in a Monday media release that they have sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, urging the department to prioritize the delivery of computer chips used by snowplows to state and local departments of public works.

In a letter to Buttigieg, the senators said that it has been brought to their attention that computer chips that state and local DPWSs use for their snowplows will be in short supply. “This could have a detrimental effect on the departments’ ability to clear roads of ice and snow as plows may not be operational, which poses a significant public safety risk,” the release said.

“We are requesting that your department make it a priority to have the computer chips that state and local DPW’s depend upon for the continued and reliable operation of their snowplows shipped to them before any other entity in the supply chain,” the senators wrote in their letter to Buttigieg. “It is important for the safety of travelers, the continued viability of the economy and to the continued upkeep of our roads and bridges.”

“Our local highway departments are vital to our traveling safety — especially when inclement weather strikes,” Oberacker said in the release. “However, if these dedicated men and women are unable to start their vehicles, especially plow trucks, I can accurately forecast a difficult winter. I join Senator Griffo in calling on Secretary Buttigieg to put our local DPWs first to ensure our highway workers are able to keep our roads safe for all.”

“Senator Oberacker and Senator Griffo understand the important role our local highway departments play when it comes to public safety and I appreciate their advocacy,” said Otsego County Rep. Edwin Frazier Jr., who chairs the county’s Public Works Committee. “It is difficult enough to maintain our equipment and keep our trucks on the road during the harsh winter months without having to worry about part shortages.”

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