FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 15, 2008
SCHUMER: NEW ECONOMIC STIMULUS WOULD BE BOON FOR ORANGE COUNTY GREEN JOBS, BUSINESSES, TOWNS & VILLAGES - BOOST ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND PROJECTS, LOCAL SEWER-WATER INFRASTRUCTURE, SCHOOLS
Rep. Hall, County Executive Diana, City Leaders, and School Officials Join Schumer In Outlining Insufficient Sewer-Water Systems, Deteriorating Roads and Highways & School Facilities
Senator Detailed How Billions In New Funding for Critical Projects in Stimulus a Win-Win-Win for Orange County - Quickly Complete Overdue Projects, Create Good, Green Jobs and Prime the Pump of the Local Economy
Schumer: Funding To Go Directly to "Shovel Ready" Projects and Local Green Initiatives - Conserve Resources, Reduce Reliance on Fossil Fuels
With the national economy reeling and infrastructure projects in Orange County in desperate need of attention, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that he is going to push for billions of dollars in new federal funding to upgrade environmentally-sound local infrastructure projects, boost green businesses, create jobs and help local schools in Orange County and across the country as part of the federal economic stimulus package now being drawn up by President-Elect Obama and Congress. At Taylor Recycling in Montgomery, Schumer discussed the economic stimulus plan with Rep. Hall, County Executive Edward Diana and city and school leaders from Orange County.
“The stimulus package isn’t just a way to prime our economic pump. It will also jump start long neglected infrastructure projects – that create hundreds of jobs - in Orange County and across the country that have been starved for funding for a generation. And all of these projects should go hand in hand with a long-term plan to conserve resources, reduce pollution, and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” Schumer said. “There are shovel ready projects right here in Orange County that can be up and running once this money comes through. This is the best way to put federal dollars to work for our local economy because, not only will it modernize infrastructure, but it will create jobs and promote economic development across the county.”
The next economic stimulus package, which could be as large as $500 to $700 billion dollars, is expected to deliver billions of new federal dollars to upgrade infrastructure projects, including fixing deteriorating water-sewer systems, roads, highways and bridges; ailing school facilities and boosting green businesses. Schumer today said that all of the projects spurred by the next economic stimulus package should go hand in hand with environmental efforts, producing hundreds of green jobs and giving a significant boost to local green businesses.
Schumer said that as the nation works to wean itself off foreign sources of energy, we must invest in domestic infrastructure that allows the country to harness domestic and renewable sources of energy – and create jobs. A new focus on building solar panels, wind farms, fuel-efficient cars, and more alternative energy technologies will boost local jobs, businesses and the economy. The jobs would also be created through business incentives for energy alternatives and environmentally-friendly technologies, such as those at Taylor Biomass. Taylor Biomass, a subsidiary of well known-Orange County business Taylor Global Recycling Group, is poised to create in excess of 300 construction jobs, retention of 45 full-time plant agreement jobs, and an additional 46 new plant jobs. It is estimated that upon completion, $2.5 million in new full-time wages will be pumped into the local community.
The next economic package is much-needed, Schumer said, noting the ailing sewer-water network in Orange County, the heavy burden on taxpayers, and dismal job growth. For example, local efforts that have been made to fix some of the ailing sewer-water network in Orange County, passing along a heavy burden on localities and taxpayers. Inadequate and insufficient sewage capacity can pollute waterways, flood homes, and stifle the expansion of new development. Schumer said that the outdated and outmoded infrastructure posed a tremendous threat to the future economic health of the region. He cited efforts in both Middletown and Newburgh to upgrade their wastewater treatment infrastructure and sewage plant capacity.
Additionally, job creation has been dismal as the economic turmoil continues to take its toll. In the Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown metropolitan area, the unemployment rate rose to 5.4 percent in October, up from 3.9 percent a year earlier. In Newburgh alone, according to the US Census Bureau the unemployment rate stands at a whopping 11.5 percent. Nationwide, the unemployment rate now stands at 6.5 percent, the highest rate since March 1994 and the economy has lost jobs every month this year, a total of 1.2 million jobs, with almost half of the job losses coming in the last 3 months alone.
Additionally, local school facilities are in need of significant repairs. The Enlarged City School District of Middletown is projected to see an influx of 1,400 new students in the next five years and the Chorley Elementary School, built 40 years ago and rapidly deteriorating, does not have the capacity to handle the influx. In the City of Newburgh, two schools were built as part of the FDR Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects in 1935 and are more than 70 years old. These schools still house about 1000 students each but they are in desperate need of repair and renovation.
Schumer said that the purposes of the economic stimulus package will be to create jobs and prime the pump of the national economy, while boosting environmentally sound projects by investing billions in the upgrading of antiquated infrastructure. Schumer said this will be a boon for local green businesses and jobs across Orange County that have been just waiting for funding.
Schumer said the package will focus on immediate, traditional infrastructure projects to jumpstart the economy but will also include longer-term measures to safeguard the environment. After receiving a first hand view of the plans for Taylor Biomass and its impact on job creation, as well as a sit-down discussion with County Executive Edward Diana, city leaders, and school district superintendents, Schumer said the federal stimulus funding will be a win-win-win for Orange County because not only will major infrastructure and school projects finally get the funding they need, but it will create good, environmentally friendly jobs, promote the broader economy and put the region on a long-term path to sound environmental practices.
In addition to the Taylor Biomass project, the influx of federal funding will ease the budget crunch many localities are facing because of the rising cost of these projects that can sometimes lead to state and local tax increases.
Below are a few examples of projects in the Hudson Valley that could benefit from the federal economic stimulus:
- Improvements and upgrades for Middletown’s wastewater treatment plant from 6MGD to 8.5MGD. The City is currently under a consent order from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It is estimated that 150 jobs will be created to support this effort.
- Upgrade and repairs to Robinson Avenue (Route 9W), the primary commuter road in the City of Newburgh, including water and sewer components with an estimated 100 jobs created.
- Highway improvements such as the interchange on Route 17 at Exit 122, Crystal Run.
- Sullivan County Community College is planning to build a $25 million facility to train the green collar workforce. The project could bring over 900 jobs to the region.
- LEED certification training center at Construction Contractors Association site in Newburgh
In anticipation of the new administration's economic recovery focus, state and local governments have begun to compile a list of shovel ready projects that would be eligible for this funding. Though the specific process hasn’t been finalized, the federal funding would be awarded through the federal agencies directly to the state and local governments. Schumer said this process will be fast-tracked because the money needs to be put to work quickly to help turn the economy around.
Schumer said that this month, as Congress and the next Administration draw up the economic stimulus package, he will push to ensure that not only is there a significant portion of the funding allotted for water and sewer projects in addition to road and bridge projects, but that these projects place a strong emphasis on environmental health.