FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 28, 2012
AFTER PUSH FROM SCHUMER, MILLIONS IN FEDERAL FLOOD AID PREVIOUSLY STUCK IN RED TAPE WILL BE RELEASED FOR ECONOMIC REBUILDING AFTER LAST YEAR’S TROPICAL STORMS
After Last Fall’s Tropical Storms, Schumer Fought to Secure $200 Million for EDA Disaster Funding To Help Region Recover – Funding Had Been Approved But Was Bound By Red Tape Until Bureaucratic Guidelines Were Issued
Today, Guidelines Were Approved And Competitive Grant Program Will Begin – Disaster Counties From The Hudson Valley, Southern Tier, Capital Region and North Country Will Be Eligible For Federal Funds To Help Rebuild Local Economies
Schumer: Another Wave Of Relief Is On The Way
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that millions in federal flood aid that had been tied up in bureaucratic red tape will now be made available to disaster counties in New York that were devastated by last fall’s tropical storms. A Schumer-backed bill that passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law contains $200 million in economic development funding for projects in disaster areas like New York’s tropical-storm ravaged regions, but the funding could not reach specific projects until Senate and House Appropriations Committees approved guidelines for how the money can be spent. In February, Schumer visited flood-damaged areas in the Capital Region and Southern Tier to call for the immediate release of the funds that will be essential to rebuild the economy following the storms. Today, Schumer announced that guidelines for the money had been approved and that local entities can begin applying for federal funds to boost job-creating projects in flood-damaged areas.
“This is the news we’ve been waiting for – finally help to rebuild our local economies in flood-damaged regions will be on its way,” said Schumer. “I saw first-hand the damage Irene and Lee caused, and have met with business leaders who have innovative and forward thinking plans to help our communities bounce back. We have to rebuild our towns and villages that were wiped out last summer focused especially on jobs, and these investments are designed to do exactly that. I am going to do everything in my power to go to bat for New York businesses and groups that are seeking federal investments to rebuild after the flooding, and will fight tooth and nail to make sure New York gets its fair share.”
In November 2011, Schumer helped pass legislation that included billions of dollars in disaster funding, which would help New Yorkers recover from Tropical Storms Irene and Lee. That Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations “mini-bus” legislation included $200 million appropriated for the EDA to distribute to disaster-ridden counties. The EDA will be able to use this funding to provide financial resources and technical assistance to help rebuild economic development and provide grants to build new infrastructure, like basic utilities, research facilities, and businesses, that foster economic development to retain or attract jobs to the region. However, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees needed to approve EDA’s planned uses for the funds before they can be released to the EDA and applied to disaster recovery projects. The committee does not review specific projects, but rather signs-off on the EDA’s planned general use of the funding. Today, the final guidelines were issued, meaning that eligible entities in disaster counties can apply for federal financing to aid projects that will create jobs in flood-ravaged areas.
Tropical Storm Irene caused serious damage to businesses, infrastructure and homes throughout the state. Following the storm, Congress passed a series of appropriations bills, which will provide approximately $2.6 billion in disaster recovery funds to help communities across the country. Of these funds, Congress provided the EDA with $200 million in competitive disaster recovery funding. EDA’s spending plan for allocating the disaster funds is now in the Congressional approval process, but had previously been mired in delays.
The EDA plays a critical “second responder role” in addition to FEMA, in helping local governments weather the storm and provide emergency funding for repairs. Schumer’s push to secure a $200 million lifeline in the FY12 Appropriations “mini-bus” legislation funds a variety of EDA projects in the wake of these major disasters, but only once the funding is finalized and released. Specifically, EDA can be tasked with the following projects in the wake of a major disaster:
1.) Strategic Planning: EDA offers financial resources and technical assistance to help develop and enhance economic development plans following a disaster. This is achieved through the funding of disaster recovery plans, strategies, and funding for disaster recovery coordinators.
2.) Infrastructure Development: EDA offers grant funds to build new infrastructure (e.g., business incubators, technology parks, research facilities, basic utilities such as water treatment) that foster economic development to retain or attract jobs to the region.
3.) Capital for Alternative Financing: Through EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program, non-profit and governmental entities can apply to establish an RLF which in turn makes below market-rate loans to businesses to help recovery