FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 26, 2011
SCHUMER GOES TO BAT TO JUMPSTART RONKONKOMA HUB DEVELOPMENT PROJECT; PUSHES THREE-POINT FUNDING PLAN TO GET PROJECT OFF THE GROUND
Schumer to Seek Funding for Sewer Infrastructure, Roundabout Construction, and Rehabilitation of Blighted Properties Around LIRR Station
Calls for EPA, HUD, and DOT, Through Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, to Work with Brookhaven and Islip Officials to Identify Funding
Schumer: Project Has Potential To Change the Face of Ronkonkoma, Create Untold Jobs, Attracting New Business and Residents
United States Senator Charles E. Schumer, at a tour of the future site of the Ronkonkoma Hub development project, announced a major effort today to secure funding to help jumpstart the massive project that will change the face of the community and serve as an example of successful transit-oriented development. Schumer called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), through the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities to meet with and help identify federal funding sources to help secure funding for three key foundational ingredients to the success of this project of regional importance: sewer infrastructure, roundabout construction at the LIRR station, and rehabilitation of existing, blighted properties around the train station.
Schumer made the case that public investment in infrastructure and federal recognition for the project will provide an added incentive for developers to invest private capital in this massive economic development project. Schumer’s push for federal support for the Ronkonkoma Hub project is part of an overall effort he has led to have federal agencies work with local officials to identify funding opportunities, cut through bureaucratic red tape, and navigate local officials through regulatory obstacles.
“Ronkonkoma Hub has the potential to not only reshape the face of the most widely used transit center on the Long Island Railroad, but it can serve as a model for communities throughout the region that are looking to revitalize their communities in and around transportation hubs,” said Schumer. “At the end of the day, a project like Ronkonkoma Hub, which has the support of its local leaders, is about economic development and jobs. This project has the potential to untold numbers of jobs for the region.”
"I thank Senator Schumer for supporting our efforts to redevelop the Ronkonkoma Hub. This is the most significant redevelopment project on the entire East Coast and Brookhaven is committed to turning the Ronkonkoma Hub into a beautiful new transit-oriented destination. The Town will continue to work with the community and our neighbor, the Town of Islip, to turn this vision into a reality," said Supervisor Mark Lesko.
“I want to thank Senator Schumer for leading the fight for regional and federal assistance in making this project a reality,” said Islip Town Supervisor Phil Nolan. “The Town of Islip is excited about partnering with Supervisor Lesko and the Town of Brookhaven to bring new economic activity and new jobs to this area that is tailor-made for redevelopment and revitalization.”
Last August, Schumer brought representatives from the EPA, the office of Sustainable Communities, HUD, and USDOT to assist local officials to map out areas of coordination in affordable housing, environmental, and transportation planning to promote sustainable development methods to revitalize local economies in the area. Schumer is pressing for a similar coordinated effort to jumpstart the Ronkokoma Hub development project and calling on the Partnership to lead an effort to identify and help coordinate a federal assistance package to help fund major components of the project.
Specifically, Schumer called for the federal agencies to explore and identify potential funding sources to support the development of sewer infrastructure, the construction of a roundabout at the Ronkonkoma LIRR station, and the rehabilitation of existing building stock around the train station.
Schumer identified three key targets for potential funding for the project and noted that his office will work with local officials and the Partnership for Sustainable Communities to help should work secure funding. Specifically, Schumer identified the following agencies and funding opportunities:
Federally funded Clean Water State Revolving Fund:
With oversight from the EPA, the federally-financed Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) is jointly administered by the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Since 1990, the program has provided more than $14 billion in low-cost financing under this program. In Fiscal Year 2012, NYS estimates they will have approximately $500 million in financing available for the State. The CWSRF provides low-interest rate financing and grants to municipalities to construct water quality protection projects such as sewers and wastewater treatment facilities. A variety of publicly-owned water quality improvement projects are eligible for financing. Eligible projects include point source projects such as wastewater treatment facilities and nonpoint source projects such as stormwater management projects and landfill closures, as well as certain habitat restoration and protection projects in national estuary program areas.
Economic Development Agency (EDA):
The EDA Public Works Program Provides funding for distressed communities to revitalize and upgrade physical infrastructure to attract new industry, encourage business expansion, and diversify local economies. Schumer was successful in achieving distressed community status for Long Island, which would allow the Towns of Brookhaven and Islip to apply for funding that could be used to acquire or develop land for public works, like a sewer treatment plant.
The Economic Adjustment Assistance Program helps address the needs of communities experiencing adverse economic changes that may occur suddenly or over time caused by international trade, long-term economic deterioration, loss of a major community employer, or loss of manufacturing jobs. Funding can be used for infrastructure improvements like sewers.
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA):
The Transportation, Community, and System Preservation (TCSP) Program provides funding for a comprehensive initiative including planning grants, implementation grants, and research to investigate and address the relationships between transportation, community, and system preservation and to identify private sector-based initiatives. States, metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and tribal governments are eligible for TCSP Program discretionary grants to plan and implement strategies which improve the efficiency of the transportation system and reduce environmental impacts of transportation.