Schumer, Clinton Secure Millions Of Federal Dollars In Transportation Bill For Western New York
Senators Announce Money for Peace Bridge, Outer Harbor Road, Erie Route 219 and Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Funded Through Transportation Authorization Bill
Schumer, Clinton Deliver Over $230 Million for New York In Bill Just Passed By Senate-House Conference Committee
U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced that the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill, entitled the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), was approved by the Conference Committee on which Senator Clinton served, includes an additional $59.75 million for Western New York projects, out of over $230 million in special projects for New York. Senators Schumer and Clinton announced a substantial increase of approximately $3 billion in additional funding coming to New York State for highways and transit for a total of over $16.5 billion in total federal spending for New York. Specifically, the legislation includes $10.07 billion in highway funds and $6.5 billion for New York State’s transit systems, a 19 percent increase in annual average highway spending and a 30 percent increase in public transit funding compared to the previous six year transportation authorization bill. The bill also contains funding for research, safety, environment, transportation planning and security that will benefit all New Yorkers.
Senator Clinton served as a member of the Conference between the House and Senate due to her role as a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee Senator Schumer is a member of the Banking and Finance Committees, which control the transit funding and tax portions of the bill. Both Senators fought hard to ensure that provisions important to New York were retained in the Conference Report.
“This is great news for Buffalo and Western New York. These transportation funds keep New Yorkers moving quickly and safely, while creating jobs across the state,” Schumer said. “Buffalo has waited for years to get things moving at the Peace Bridge and Outer Harbor, and these federal dollars will go a long way towards getting these projects done. Funds for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and putting Cars back on Main Street will be a huge shot in the arm for bringing jobs and new like to downtown Buffalo."
“After two years of hard work, we have achieved a bill that will create jobs and bring significant resources to Western New York. These funds will go a long way towards helping communities make the infrastructure improvements needed to keep their economies moving,” said Senator Clinton, who served as a Senate conferee in negotiations on the bill. “I am proud that our efforts have resulted in New York's share of funds growing to meet the ever increasing transportation demands on our state. We have made a substantial contribution to the future of Western New York by investing in these critical road and transit projects. I am especially pleased that we were able to secure funding for the Peace Bridge. The people of Buffalo have been waiting a long time for this and I am pleased that we are finally on the path to getting this bridge built. I am also pleased that we secured these funds to expand and improve Route 219, the gateway from Toronto to Buffalo and beyond and I am pleased that we secured these funds for the Outer Harbor Project which I believe will help energize Buffalo and the entire region. Finally, I am thrilled that we were able to secure language that will officially designate Interstate Highway 86 in the Southern Tier, as the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Interstate Highway. It is a most fitting tribute to his work, that this highway bear his name.”
The funding approved in the bill today includes:
$17 million that Senators Schumer and Clinton secured for the continued progress in the construction of the Peace Bridge, the US Border inspection plaza, an expressway, and various local street connections, bringing the total Peace Bridge funding secured in the bill to approximately $25 million. The project will expand the capacity and relieve congestion along the US-Canada border crossing. The Peace Bridge carries about $20 billion worth of trade annually, and is the busiest crossing on the US – Canada border with 6.6 million passenger vehicles and nearly 1.4 million commercial vehicles crossing annually. The current project, which is a part of the NAFTA Corridor Program, will modernize border inspection facilities and reduce reoccurring bottlenecks and severe congestion at the border crossing.
$8 million that Senators Schumer and Clinton secured for Southtown Connector Improvements on NY Route 5 from the Coast Guard Base to Ohio Street, Buffalo, NY/Buffalo Outer Harbor Road Improvements, increasing total funding in the bill for Outer Harbor projects to more approximately $18 million. Funds will be used for the Southtown Connector Improvements on NY Route 5 from the Coast Guard Base to Ohio Street. This funding is important for the continued development of Buffalo to ensure that it becomes a thriving economic engine for Western New York.
$9.25 million that Senators Schumer and Clinton secured for the University of Buffalo’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER). Clinton and Schumer secured approval for $1.25 million per year, over the next five years, in funding for research on the impact of seismic activity on the federal highway system and the nation’s transportation network as well as ways to reduce our vulnerability from earthquakes. In addition, the Senators provided an additional $3 million to support ongoing research activities. The funding will also help improve earthquake simulation facilities. This is an important economic generator in Western New York and will keep the University of Buffalo at the forefront of this important research. Senator Clinton promised to fight hard to include the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) in this version of the bill. MCEER is a national center of excellence in advanced technology applications dedicated to the reduction of earthquake losses nationwide. MCEER is headquartered at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The Center was originally established by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1986 and has been included in every reauthorization bill since its creation.
$9 million that Senators Schumer and Clinton secured for I-86/Route 17 Upgrades for Broome, Delaware, Chemung, Orange, Sullivan, and Cattaraugus Counties and $1 million for I-86/Route 17 Upgrades for Tioga County. The upgrade and designation of NYS Route 17 as Interstate 86 will make the Southern Tier, the Catskills, and the Lower Hudson Valley more competitive and able to attract substantial growth in business, industry, and tourism.
$5 million that Senators Schumer and Clinton secured for the expansion and improvements to Route 219 in Cattaraugus and Erie counties, which aid in the construction of an expressway from the Village of Springville to the City of Salamanca, increasing total funding in the bill for the Route 219 project to $13 million. The project is divided into eight segments, and this funding is for a portion of Section V and all of Section VI. This will extend the expressway from Route 39 in Springville (Erie County) to Snake Run Road in Ashford Hollow (Cattaraugus County).
$6 million that Senators Schumer and Clinton secured for roadway, streetscape, pedestrian, and parking improvements to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in addition to the approximately $3,200,000 included by the House for a total of approximately $9,200,000. The funding will be used for roadway, streetscape, pedestrian, transit, and parking enhancements to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. These improvements will assist in creating a sustainable urban environment and improve access to medical services. The total cost of this project is $16 million and is critical to downtown Buffalo's downtown strategic plan. These enhancements will link multi-modal facilities together. In particular, increased transit access and ridership on the Metrorail will be completed and links between Allen Hospital Station will increase access to the campus.
$2 million that Senators Schumer and Clinton secured for road improvements that will help with the restoration of vehicle traffic to Main Street in downtown Buffalo in addition to the approximately $4 million included by the House for a total of approximately $6 million.
$1.5 million that Senators Schumer and Clinton secured in additional funding for the construction of pedestrian and bike trail campus improvements at St. Bonaventure University, bringing the total funding to approximately $2 million. These funds will enhance pedestrian and vehicle access to St. Bonaventure’s campus and permit public access to key parts of the campus.
$1 million that Senators Schumer and Clinton secured for Erie Community College Road Improvements. The funds will go towards the development of an intermodal facility to be located on a parcel adjacent to the proposed expansion of Erie Community College, two blocks east of the Metro Rail station and presently utilized by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority as a local metro bus terminus serving the entire transportation service area of the Authority. The facility will consist of the local bus terminus, a structured parking facility and ground level commercial/retail space to complement the operations of the college.
$1 million that Senators Schumer and Clinton secured for the design and construction of the downtown Jamestown Connector Trail. These funds will be added to funding provided by the House for a total of approximately $4.2 million. Jamestown Gateway Station is the transformation through adaptive re-use of the abandoned, historic former Erie- Lackawanna Railroad Station into a new, multi-modal, civic and visitors center that unites urban downtown Jamestown with the natural Chadakoin River waterfront and the planned Riverwalk park at the center of the city of Jamestown, Chautauqua County, NY. This center welcomes, orients and educated residents and visitors to the past, present and future of Jamestown’s and the surrounding region’s natural and cultural bounty. As well, the Jamestown Gateway Station will again serve the community as a transportation facility through its vehicular, pedestrian, trailhead functions and passenger trains.
Senators Schumer and Clinton today also announced the approval of several of their own provisions, including: Daniel Patrick Moynihan Interstate Highway – Senators Clinton and Schumer secured language in this bill renaming all of I-86 after the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a fitting tribute to a man who once chaired the Environment and Public Works Committee and who fought hard in previous transportation reauthorization bills for the needs of New York. Senator Clinton introduced an Amendment last year that was accepted by the Senate during consideration of the surface transportation reauthorization bill. The provision was retained in this year’s bill and will now become law.
Amo Houghton Bypass – Senators Clinton and Schumer secured approval to rename a portion of Route 86 near Corning, NY, after former Congressman Amo Houghton who was primarily responsible for securing the funding that made construction of this bypass possible. Senator Clinton offered an Amendment, and it was accepted, during the Environment and Public Works Committee’s markup of the surface transportation reauthorization bill. This provision was also included in the House bill sponsored by Rep. Randy Kuhl.
.High Priority Corridor Amendment - Clinton and Schumer worked to secure approval for Route 219 in Western New York, I-86/I-99, I-87 from the Quebec border to New York City, the East-West Corridor from Watertown to Vermont, and I-95 from New York to Connecticut to be designated as high priority corridors, making them eligible for specific high priority corridor funding. These roads are important routes within the State of New York and this amendment makes single and two corridors eligible for federal funding to assure long-term stability. Senator Clinton proposed this amendment during the Environment and Public Works Committee’s markup. Both roads were originally designated as High Priority Corridors in 1991, but language in this bill originally removed two-state or single-state corridors. The Clinton amendment makes all single state and two state corridors eligible because they can be just as vital as multi-state corridors.
National System Study Commission - The Conference Report contains a provision creating the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission that Senator Clinton authored as a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. This Commission will determine the future transportation needs of New York and the nation. This Commission will combine the National Transportation System Study and the Commission on Future Revenue Sources to Support the Highway Trust Fund into one single commission. Senator Clinton worked with former NYSDOT Commissioner and current Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Boardman to push this idea forward. The objective of combining these two bodies into a comprehensive evaluation of the future of transportation and its financing provides a roadmap for better allocation of transportation funding resources in the future. A better allocation will mean funding based on needs, which can only help New York. It will hopefully result in rewards for New York because of high transit use, which contributes to a more sustainable transportation network.
CargoWatch Technology – the Senators secured $3.5 million for PAR Technology’s CargoWatch Transportation Management Program. This funding is in addition to funds added in the House. These funds will be used to identify, track, and manage cargo within containers along with associated over-the-road assets from point origin until destination. Tracking container shipping supply chains will provide essential national security and efficient transportation management. The tracking system is being developed by PAR Technologies, based in New Hartford, NY.
The Conference Report is now scheduled to be considered by both the Senate and the House sometime later this week. After passing each house, the approved Report will then go to the President’s desk to be signed. The bill originally passed the House on March 10 and the Senate on May 17. The new project funding is in addition to any money already approved by the House.