Senator Schumer Pushes For More Port Of Albany Funding | WAMC

Senator Schumer Pushes For More Port Of Albany Funding

Nov 5, 2019

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer visited the Port of Albany Monday to get a firsthand look at improvements. The Democrat pledged to seek more federal money to continue the port’s expansion.

In July 2016, the New York Democrat was in Albany announcing he had secured a $17 million dollar federal grant for the port to help upstate manufacturers export their products across the nation and globe via the Hudson River.   "We applied for something called a TIGER* grant. That's one of the hardest events to get in the whole country. But this was so worthwhile and there was such bang for the buck that we won the grant."

TIGER funds were used to build a new warehouse, reconstruct the maritime terminal and port roadway, and to improve terminal safety. 

Back at the port Monday, the Senate Minority Leader pushed for more federal funding - $24 million - from the U.S. Department of Transportation.   "Through its Port Infrastructure Development program. With this funding, the port would be able to expand and enhance its facilities to 3,000 feet of land with waterside access to the Hudson River. Why is this so important? Well, one of the things that's happening in New York state, around the whole East Coast, is windmills. Offshore windmills. And a lot of them are made here. And you need a new and modern facility to take those windmills and bring them here. It makes it more competitive. Because you can get them here and get them there quickly. New York state has said they want to produce 2,400 megawatts by 2030, 9,000 by 2035. A lot of that's going to come right here out of the port. So if we can get this grant that should really enhance this area."

Schumer says the new round of funding could create more than 1,600 jobs.   "We're moving into a different kind of energy future, and we have to adapt to that."

Bethlehem Town Supervisor David VanLuven says it's also about the future.    "When you look at industry along the Hudson River, the industry that we have today is cleaner, it's safer and it's better than what we've had historically. So this investment, the money that he's working to bring to our community is not only going to benefit us in the short term, it's gonna benefit all of us far into the future."

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan adds what's good for the port is good for the city's South End Neighborhood.   "In addition to this being about jobs, it's about environmental justice, being able to get this truck traffic off of a road that goes past housing where we know people have challenges and have health challenges. It's just another benefit of, and it's what can happen when, we come together to try to solve problems, and looking at those improvements really benefiting this port. It's a win-win, but we need that help!"

According to Schumer, estimates show expansion at the Port of Albany could generate as much as $400 million in investments in Albany County.

Via Senator Schumer's office:  the TIGER* funds have allowed the Port of Albany to make the following improvements:

  • First, the Port of Albany has constructed a 45,000 foot clear span, temperature controlled Maritime Warehouse to house its big lift system. The warehouse is currently occupied by Dagen Trucking and Logistics, and is used to transport and store heavy lift, power equipment.
  • Second, the Port of Albany is reconstructing 840 linear feet of the original South Wharf, as well as constructing and installing a cutting-edge “roll-on, roll-off” barge system, which will expand both access to and use of the wharf.
  • Third, the Port of Albany is designing a 60,000 square foot modern maritime warehouse that will begin construction next year. This facility will handle port cargo including paper pulp and other goods.
  • Fourth, the Port of Albany is reconstructing the entire outdoor maritime terminal on the Albany side of the port. This upgrade is critical, because it is where cargo storage and staging occurs.
  • Fifth, the Port of Albany is reconstructing the port roadway, allowing for cargo to be stored and loaded onto vessels in the port more easily and efficiently.
  • Sixth, the Port of Albany is making additional, assorted terminal security improvements.     
  • The Port of Albany is part of the established M-87 Marine Highway, which facilitates inland movement of goods to and from the Port of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ), Upstate New York, Western New York and Western Massachusetts. Additionally, the presence of the port has the added benefit of removing countless trucks from the metropolitan New York roadways, reducing both carbon emissions and vehicular accidents. Right now, the Port of Albany has a greater than $800 million economic impact and supports of 5,000 good-paying jobs.
  • A copy of Schumer’s letter to the Department of Transportation appears below.

    Dear Secretary:

    I am pleased to write in strong support of the application submitted by the Port of Albany for funding through the United States Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Maritime Administration (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Grants program. With more than $800 million in annual economic impact and directly and indirectly employing over 5,000 New Yorkers regionally and statewide, the Port of Albany (Port) is a key part of the established M-87 Marine Highway and a major artery in the Upstate New York economy, connecting inland movement of goods to and from the Port of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) throughout Upstate New York as well as Western Massachusetts, diverting trucks from metro New York and New Jersey roadways reducing carbon emissions. With funding, the Port proposes to enhance and expand port facilities, with a 25% increase in the working Port district to support Upstate New York’s economic development and expansion opportunities with expanded commerce on the Hudson River.

    In 2016 and 2018, the Port’s growth strategy and market assessment identified that it was missing out on many economic development opportunities because a majority of their developable land was being used for commercial purposes. With more than twenty-five business tenants and an active maritime commerce area that is currently undergoing major investments and enhancements, the port is utilizing 97% of their available commercial property. Based on the strategic recommendation, the Port acquired 80 acres of undeveloped lands along the picturesque Hudson River, adjacent to the existing Port facilities. The Port’s expansion site includes 3,000 linear feet of waterside access on the Hudson River, 124 nautical miles north of the New York harbor. This expansion project would offer a uniquely large scale development site that will create new commerce on the Hudson River and result in an expanded intermodal facility in Upstate New York. In 2019, the Port is expected to conclude their feasibility work, acquire all state and local permitting and complete the approval process, making the site “shovel ready.” As part of the feasibility requirements, the economic and fiscal impact studies showed the Port’s MARAD Port Infrastructure Development Grant Proposal would result in 1,600 new jobs and potentially $400 million of new investment annually in Albany County. This proposal would not just benefit Upstate New York, as it is expected to attract new manufacturing operations to the United States to fulfill offshore wind supply chain necessary to supply many projects in the Northeast United States.

    If awarded, the Port’s proposal would leverage resources, enhance intermodal facilities, catalyze investment and growth and support a critical network in the marine transportation system to provide substantial benefit to the metropolitan and upstate economies. I applaud the Port of Albany for its foresight, and am confident their application will not just meet, but exceed, your approval.

    Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my office with any further questions.  

    Sincerely,

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