Republican incumbent Dan Losquadro will be running for his fourth full term as superintendent of highways after originally filling the spot back in 2013 during a special election. Prior to his role as highway superintendent, he was elected twice to the New York State Assembly, and four times to the Suffolk County Legislature.
Currently wrapping up paving season with winter rapidly approaching, he said he feels that he is really making good progress and is ahead of where he thought he would be at six years in.
Upon filling the seat, he identified over $120 million in a backlog of roadwork that needed to be done. With a five- and 10-year plan to address it, he says he has come close to cutting that number in half.
“With the supervisor and board listening and increasing my funding, we can get a lot more done,” he said, pointing to the town board’s decision to increase the highway budget by $2 million this year and another $5 million next, totaling a $15 million budget for 2020, not including state aid. “I am so grateful and ecstatic that we have that long-term commitment invested into our infrastructure.
Of the about 3,600 land miles of road within the town, Losquadro says he has paved over 1,000. His plan moving forward is to have every road within the town repaved within the next nine to 10 years. Then, he said, he can begin a paving cycle.
He also explained that though the issue couldn’t be fixed overnight, the process was made more efficient by changing the way the roads were paved. Previously, he said, the roads were being paved through a technique called curb milling that didn’t work and after only five, six or eight years, the roads were failing.
Now, the department grinds every road all the way across from edge to edge with a mill and overlay process, repairing bad spots in the subsurface as they go. Also, he said he learned to address any drainage problems to get the water off the roads, increasing their lifespan. With his efforts, he explained, the roads will get a 20- to 25-year life expectancy.
Another initiative he is most proud of, which is coming to a head next year, is his LED light conversion project. Of the approximately 45,000 town-owned lights, the main roads, he says, will be converted to LED by February and the residential areas to follow. So far, about 20,000 lights on almost all the main roads have been replaced.
“At this point, we are already saving in excess of about a quarter-million dollars,” he said, stating that when the project is fully built out, based on today’s electric rates a total of about $500,000 will be saved per year in energy costs alone. “That doesn’t include the reduced maintenance costs.”
Also during his time as the highway super he has been digitalizing and modernizing the department has been on top of Losquadro’s priority list. He is also proud of taking the department.
During his time in office, he has implemented a new 800-megahertz radio system. He says it is now extremely reliable during times of emergency. He has also replaced the entire fleet of vehicles and launched an iPad and electronic work-order system that rolled out two years ago. The new system is completely online, making the department paperless and available to the public to report problems and request services.
This year, Losquadro says he has almost completed an infrastructure project updating all 13 yard facilities throughout the district, as well as implementing a brand-new, state-funded truck wash, which will open this year at the main highway yard in Coram.
As for drainage, he said his plans are to address all 1,100 recharge basins throughout the town to reduce flooding. Next year, due to the increase in local funding, he said, he was able to create a specific line in the budget dedicated to the recharge basins, something that will make maintenance more feasible. He has also acquired a $300,000 state grant to purchase a vacuum truck.
“In six years we received $100 million in grant funding,” he said of his efforts to supplement the budget. “That’s a lot of money.”
If re-elected, he said the town would see even further implementation of technology, upgrades and strides toward a goal of a scheduled paving cycle. “I think my record clearly shows that I have tackled the problems head-on and have made a tremendous amount of progress,” he said, addressing why people should vote for him. “I ask people to continue to put their faith in me and we are going to continue to move Brookhaven forward.”