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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2007

Schumer Announces $2 Billion For Jfk Rail Link Approved By Senate Finance Committee


Long Bogged Down Funding Now Moving Swiftly Through Congress

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced today that the Senate finance committee has approved the conversion of $2 billion worth of unused tax credits in to funding that can be used to construct the Downtown JFK Rail link. Schumer, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, aggressively lobbied include the provision, which has been bogged down for years under the Republican congress.

 

"This once-in-a-generation chance to connect Downtown to Kennedy Airport and Long Island will spur new business development, create jobs Downtown, and ensure New York's economic growth for decades to come," Schumer said. "This bill is priced to move and we now have a real chance of bringing this vital funding back to New York. Building a link between Kennedy Airport and the labor pool of Long Island will be especially important to businesses considering staying or moving to Downtown. When we finally get it done, it will be a big win for all of New York."

 

After 9/11, President Bush committed to providing New York with $20 billion in aid. As part of that original $20 billion commitment, Congress passed a $5 billion Liberty Zone tax incentive program in the "Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002." Unfortunately, some of the tax incentives have gone unutilized, and Schumer has sought for two years to convert those unused incentives into other projects that could benefit Lower Manhattan. President Bush included a $2 billion "trade-in" in his last two budget proposals, for fiscal years 2006 and 2007.

 

Last year, after months of working closely with the City and State, as well as Senate leaders, Senator Schumer succeeded in adding a $1.75 billion tax credit program (over 15 years) to tax bills that passed both the House and Senate. The credits were available to New York City and New York State to be used for public transportation infrastructure projects in or connecting with the New York Liberty Zone. However, at year's end, the provision was removed in conference and was not included in the final version of the tax extenders package that became law. Senator Schumer then lobbied the Administration to include the provision in its 2008 budget proposal so that it could pass both the House and Senate again and hopefully be signed into law this year.

 

The provision has now been included in the tax portion of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill. The credits are for an even $169 million a year for 12 years. The identical language has already passed the House as part of the House-passed energy package. 

 

The rail project is expected to cost $6 billion. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has already committed $560 million to the project and the MTA has $400 million in its capital plan for this project. Combined with these initial contributions, a redeployment of the available portions of the tax package for this project would represent a substantial amount toward the total required, and would give the momentum necessary to raise the remaining funds.

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