FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 19, 2011
SCHUMER COMPLETES 62 COUNTY TOUR FOR 13TH YEAR-IN-A-ROW WITH VISIT TO HOLLINGSWORTH & VOSE IN WASHINGTON COUNTY
While Pushing National Legislation, Schumer Continues To Follow Through On Pledge To Visit Every Single New York County Each Year
Many Achievements Include Senate Passage of China Currency Legislation; Banning Dangerous Bath Salts In New York, Delivering Over $200 Million in FEMA Aid After Tropical Storms, Creating Passengers Bill Of Rights For LIRR Riders; And Bringing Jobs Like Those At Buffalo’s Ford Stamping Plant To New York
Schumer Calls Tour Essential To His Work In Our Nation’s Capitol – Pledges To Complete Another 62-County Tour In 2012
With his visit to Hollingsworth and Vose in Washington County today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer completed his 62 County tour of New York for the thirteenth year-in-a-row – a feat that makes him the first New York state public official to visit every single county in New York every year he has been in office. Schumer today highlighted some of the year’s biggest accomplishments including Senate passage of his bill to crack down on Chinese currency manipulation, creating a passengers bill of rights for Long Island Rail Road passengers, banning dangerous bath salts in New York and pushing legislation to ban them across the country, delivering over $200 million in FEMA aid to New York following tropical storms Irene and Lee, and helping retain and create jobs in New York at locations including the Ford stamping plant in Buffalo.
Over the course of the year, Schumer made over 190 visits to Upstate New York and Long Island. He visited the Capital Region 19 times; the Southern Tier 14 times; Western New York 25 times; the Hudson Valley over 30 times; Long Island 46 times; the Rochester Finger Lakes Region 27 times; and Central New York 29 times.
“This year our state and our country continued to fight our way through a tough economy,” said Schumer. “Traveling across New York’s 62 counties each year reminds me that there isn’t a tougher state in the nation. The Empire State is full of hard-working people who have the right ideas when it comes to getting our economy moving again, and hearing from them sets the foundation for my work in Washington. I’m confident that next year will be a great year for New York, and I’m excited to kick off the 14th 62-county tour next month.”
Today Schumer’s office issued a report, attached to this release, detailing his achievements for the past year.
Some of the highlights include:
Established New LIRR Passenger Bill of Rights/Pledge: LIRR commuters were plagued with numerous service disruptions in 2011. In April, poorly scheduled Amtrak construction disrupted LIRR service for nearly three hours, leaving tens of thousands of commuters stranded on the first night of Passover. In October, after a debilitating lighting strike, LIRR service was delayed due to a human error that caused signal problems for all trains traveling east of Jamaica station. In this instance, seven trains were left idling between stations, causing some commuters to self-evacuate onto the tracks. Schumer called on the LIRR to create a commuters’ bill of rights. On the heels of Schumer’s request, the LIRR drafted a “pledge” to its commuters. The 8-point pledge promises to: respond quickly during a service outage, offer water on idling trains, implement a better communication system, let commuters off at stations if possible, and give commuters a time-frame of when the problem will be resolved.
Established $500,000 Seed Fund for Accelerate LI Jobs Program: Schumer convened a meeting in January between leaders from Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Hofstra University, North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital Systems and Stony Brook University and urged the leaders to form a regional innovation cluster that would focus on commercializing technologies coming out of Long Island’s major research institutions. Partnering with the Long Island Association’s “Accelerate Long Island” organization, Schumer’s efforts led to the first-ever showcase of technologies from BNL, SBU, CSHL, North Shore LIJ and Hofstra University at two major events with local investors. Bridging the gap between technology patent holders and investors, which leads to the commercialization of Long Island technologies, spurs local job growth. Schumer also secured the establishment of a $500,000 emerging technologies “seed fund” by local investors Mark Fasciano of Canrock Ventures and David Calone of Jove Equity Partners. The fund is expected to grow to $1 million by 2012 and hopefully create more than a dozen companies. The fund was announced at a major event at the Cradle of Aviation in Museum, which showcased numerous plans from scientists involved in Accelerate Long Island, as well as other proposals.
Secured funding for Homes for Heroes: Homes for Heroes was in a short term lease with the Department of Health and Human Services in order to start construction on homes for veterans. Schumer helped to secure $1 million in investments to start building homes for homeless veterans throughout the Hudson Valley at former Camp Shanks.
Lobbied Pepsi CEO and Secured 1,200 jobs for 5 more years at Hudson Valley headquarters: Schumer continually pressed PepsiCo, Inc leadership to keep their headquarters inside the approximately 540,000 square foot facility in Somers. In March, PepsiCo, Inc. announced it would continue to locate their headquarters in Westchester for an additional five years. The decision means that the 1,200 jobs associated with the company’s headquarters will remain in the Hudson Valley, with great potential to attract even more jobs and economic opportunity.
Ensured upgrade to C-17 to bring new life to Stewart Air National Guard: This July, Stewart Air National Guard received its first of 8 expected C-17 cargo and troop transport aircraft to replace the Vietnam era C-5 Galaxy. Schumer pushed to have the new planes stationed in Newburgh. The new mission will keep Stewart International Airport and the Hudson Valley on the leading edge of airborne military technology and our national defense.
With Long-Standing Support, Secured DOE funding for SEMATCH and CNSE: Schumer’s push for UAlbany’s SEMATECH-CNSE application, the group has been awarded $57.5 million in federal grants from the Department of Energy (DOE). This funding will allow SEMATECH-CNSE to form a new photovoltaic manufacturing consortium with support from the Department of Energy’s Photovoltaic Manufacturing Initiative. With this federal funding, the partnership can massively increase the United States’ share of the photovoltaic technology and products market, and potentially create millions of jobs over the next decade.
Secured $58 million for Schenectady Station: Schumer’s personal appeal to transportation Secretary Ray LaHood ensured $58 million in high speed rail funding for the Empire Corridor, promoting projects that include replacing the Schenectady Station and constructing a fourth station track at the Albany-Rensselaer Station. These projects and others will go a long way towards improving reliability, speed and frequency there and throughout the Empire Corridor. Train travel is the superhighway of the future and thanks to Schumer’s efforts Upstate New York will have the essential infrastructure in place to support a robust and efficient high speed rail network. Schumer helped broker an arrangement between the Federal Rail Administration, Amtrak, CSX, and NYSDOT to obligate approximately $150 million in rail funding this September, benefitting projects across the state.
Secured $54 million for upgrades at Fort Drum: Senators Schumer and Gillibrand’s urging landed Fort Drum $54 million through the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. This funding will include more than $15 million for a soldier family care clinic for the Combat Aviation Brigade, $5 million for a dental clinic, nearly $6 million for ammunition supply storage, $7.5 million for a new chapel and $20 million for an aircraft maintenance hangar. As a result, this funding could create nearly 400 construction jobs in the area.
Secured pivotal $10 TIGER Grant for Connective Corridor: With substantial Schumer urging to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Syracuse University and City of Syracuse won a $10 million TIGER Grant for the Connective Corridor project, connecting the University to downtown Syracuse. This plan will revitalize the city and continue the work to build new sidewalks, benches, energy-efficient lighting and new lanes to limit the distance pedestrians must travel to cross between streets as they travel the corridor.
After years of urging, secured $8.9 million Army Contract for Remington: Schumer’s urging has opened the doors for $8.9 million from the U.S. Army for Remington Arms Company to manufacture 1,212 M24 Sniper rifles used by service members in Afghanistan. All of the production of the M24 sniper rifles will take place at Remington Arms’ Ilion facility by local employees, strengthening Remington’s position as a major regional employer.
Kept hundreds of jobs in Rochester; Windstream will move into the Midtown plaza facility: Windstream will occupy two thirds of the former Seneca Building that will be redeveloped under the agreement, creating an anchor in the Midtown Plaza site that should help attract other tenants and new businesses to the plaza. Windstream’s decision means that hundreds of PAETEC jobs will come to downtown Rochester, and comes after Schumer personally lobbied Mr. Gardner to make a major commitment to the Rochester region after the company announced its planned purchase of PAETEC. Windstream will also maintain a significant local presence at PAETEC’s Perinton facility.
Worked with TTB to cut red tape for New York Wineries: At Schumer’s request the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) pledged to work with NY wineries and develop a faster approval process to get wine on the shelves more quickly. The backlog in wine label approvals caused significant problems for NY wineries, like Anthony Road Winery and others across the Rochester Finger lakes region. TTB immediately began this process to approve not only regular labels but also custom labels for special events. TTB will no longer require separate approval for each custom label with amended graphics, which make up about 10% of all wine label applications from New York’s 300 wineries.
Fought to keep BAE in the Southern Tier after devastating storm: As a result of devastating flooding throughout the Southern Tier in September 2011, businesses, homes and infrastructure sustained crippling damage. BAE Systems, one of Broome County's major employers, saw their manufacturing facility inundated with standing water destroying inventory, machinery and ultimately rendering the facility uninhabitable. Serious questions existed over whether the employer of over 1350 would remain in the area. Schumer went to bat working hand in hand with local economic development, and company heads. He secured an agreement from the U.S. Air Force, the owner of the facility, that BAE would not be held liable for any costs associated with the demolition of the former facility. This reduced the cost to BAE for relocating in the Southern Tier. He also secured a commitment from FEMA to work with the IDA for eligibility of Public Assistance under the disaster declaration. This ensures the financial obligations for securing the facility will not be born on the backs of the locals. As a result, BAE announced it will remain in the Southern Tier, saving over 1,350 jobs and the former site will not be a black eye on a community ravaged by floods.
Helped Secure Over $200 Million In Federal Air Following Tropical Storms: Since bringing high-ranking FEMA officials to Upstate New York following Tropical Storms Irene and Lee, the federal government has provided over $200 million in assistance to municipalities, homeowners, and business owners who suffered damage thanks to the storm. The funds were awarded through FEMA’s individual and public assistance programs, as well as through grants and loans awarded by the Small Business Administration.
Secured Commitment from Ford CEO to bring $136 million investment to stamping plant in Hamburg: Amidst major long-term planning negotiations between Ford and the UAW, Schumer lobbied Ford CEO Alan Mulally to re-invest in Ford’s Hamburg plant. With Ford planning on launching up to seven new lines of Lincoln vehicles, Schumer urged Mulally to bring that business to the Hamburg plant. Following Schumer’s push, a new UAW contract was agreed upon in October and along with it came a pledge from Ford to invest $136 million and add over 400 new jobs to the Hamburg plant. Along with promising to continue stamping operations for several Ford and Lincoln crossover models, a new blanking line, which cuts the sheet metal that is used for stamping, is to be added. The blanking line had been removed several years before. Its return demonstrates Ford’s commitment to the Hamburg plant, and along with GM’s continued investment in its Tonawanda plant, ensures that Western New York continues to be an auto-manufacturing hub. Schumer will continue efforts to bring auto industry investment to the area.
Led the charge to secure $15 million TIGER Grant to fund Cars on Main Street project in Buffalo: In November 2011, Schumer wrote to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urging him to approve a Department of Transportation TIGER Grant for Buffalo’s Cars on Main Street Project. The Department announced in December that the project was selected to receive a grant of $15 million. This investment will allow the City of Buffalo to continue to move forward with the Main Street Multi-Modal Access and Revitalization Project, which will spur investment and growth in Buffalo’s downtown area by upgrading transit and pedestrian amenities and improving access to Main Street buildings. Schumer will continue efforts to secure federal funding for this important project.