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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 17, 2008


Ancient, Insufficient Sewer Systems Polluting Long Island's Waterways, Closing Local Beaches, Stifling New Housing, and Threatening Region's Economic Health

Senator to Detail How Billions In New Funding for Water and Sewer Projects in Stimulus a Win-Win-Win for LI - Quickly Complete Long Overdue Projects, Create Good, Green Jobs and Prime the Pump of the Local Economy

Schumer: Funding Would Go Directly to "Shovel Ready" Projects So Benefits Will Be Felt Immediately

With the national economy reeling and dozens of infrastructure projects on Long Island in danger of being shelved, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announcedthat he is going to push for billions of dollars in new federal funding to upgrade water and sewer infrastructure on Long Island and across the country as part of the federal economic stimulus package now being drawn up by President-Elect Obama and Congress. Schumer said that billions in new funding to upgrade these aging systems is a win-win-win for Long Island taxpayers because the money will help complete these vital projects, which will reduce pollution and prevent funding, create good, green jobs, and prime the pump of struggling local economies. Schumer said that the federal government had been shortchanging these types of water and sewer projects for years. Schumer said that this new funding would only go to projects that are “shovel ready”, meaning work could start within 90 days after the money is awarded, so the benefits can be reaped immediately.
“The stimulus package isn’t just a way to prime our economic pump. It will also jump start long neglected sewer and water projects on Long Island and across the country that have been starved of funding for a generation,” Schumer said. “These projects are shovel ready and can be up and running one 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 throughout Nassau and Suffolk.”
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 on Long Island and all over New York. Schumer said one of the areas most in need of this vital funding is sewer and water systems. The water and sewer network on Long Island is in near disrepair with many of the systems originally constructed as early as the 1930’s. Inadequate and insufficient sewage capacity can pollute waterways, cause beach closures, and stifle the expansion of new development. Schumer said that the outdated and outmoded infrastructure posed a tremendous threat to the economic health of the region.
Schumer said that the purposes of the economic stimulus package will be to create jobs and prime the pump of the national economy by investing billions in the upgrading of antiquated infrastructure. Schumer said this will be a boon for water and sewer projects all across Long Island that have been designed and planned but are just waiting for funding. There are dozens of projects in both Nassau and Suffolk that are so-called “shovel ready”, meaning construction could begin a mere 90 days after the federal money is allocated. Schumer said that these Long Island projects could finally get the funding they need to begin construction and eventually be completed.
Schumer said that this type of federal stimulus funding is a win-win-win for Long Island because not only will major water and sewer projects finally get the funding they need, but it will create good, environmentally friendly jobs, and promote the broader economy. In addition, 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 examples of projects in Nassau and Suffolk that could benefit from the federal economic stimulus:
·        Treatment plant improvements and upgrades in Port Washington, Great Neck, Patchogue, Lawrence, Cedar Creek.
·        Pump stations in Bay Park, Riverhead, Roosevelt Pond, and Massapequa.
·        Sewer upgrades in WoodmereBirches/Continental Villas.
Federal funding that could come for these projects could total more than $165 million.
Federal agencies have directly state and local governments 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 a significant portion of the funding for infrastructure is allotted for water and sewer projects in addition to road and bridge projects. Schumer also said that he will push for the maximum amount of funding to help upgrade transportation infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
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