08.08.22

AFTER PERSONAL CALL TO SECRETARY BUTTIGIEG, SCHUMER SECURES OVER $18 MILLION TO REVITALIZE THE GATEWAY TO UTICA’S DOWNTOWN; SENATOR DELIVERS NEW FED FUNDING TO TRANSFORM NORTH GENESEE STREET, REPLACE DILAPIDATED BRIDGES, INCREASE SAFETY & ACCESSIBILITY, CREATE JOBS, AND BOOST DOWNTOWN’S REVITALIZATION

NYSDOT’s “North Genesee Street Gateway Bridge & Multimodal Connector” Project Will Replace Aging Bridges, Improve Bus Transit, Create Bike Lanes & Safer Sidewalks, Access To The Empire State Trail, And Connect Downtown to North Genesee St.

After Direct Call To USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Schumer Secures Extremely Competitive RAISE Grant That Will Enhance Downtown Utica’s Renaissance

Schumer: $18+ Million Will Put Utica In The Fast Lane For A Downtown & Transportation Transformation!

Following his direct advocacy to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, including a personal phone call, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that he has secured $18.2 million through the highly competitive Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program to modernize the North Genesee Street gateway to downtown Utica, increase safety, and connect two growing areas of the city. 

“From the hotels and restaurants along North Genesee Street to Downtown’s new Hospital, the Nexus Center, Adirondack Bank Center and new restaurants and apartments popping up – it’s an exciting time for the City of Utica. This project, and its $18 million dollars, is the chicken riggie sauce that will serve up a recipe for success in the local economy and propel Utica’s Master Plan initiative,” said Senator Schumer.  

Schumer said that this transportation transformation, called the North Genesee Street Gateway Bridge & Multimodal Connector project, will allow the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to replace two aging bridges entering Utica, improve bus transit, add bike lanes, install safer sidewalks and green infrastructure, and ensure Utica’s entry is a modern portal to downtown.

Schumer added, “This substantial funding means safer bridges, good-paying construction jobs, better bussing, bike lanes, access to outdoor recreation, and a seamless connection between North Genesee Street and downtown. When I negotiated the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs bill into law, it was projects like this that were at the top of my mind. Utica’s downtown is experiencing a transformation and this funding will ensure its transportation infrastructure will meet the new demand.”

Schumer explained that the $18M RAISE grant (formerly known as BUILD or TIGER),  Utica has just received is a highly competitive national grant program through the U.S. Department of Transportation which fund transportation projects of national and regional significance. Schumer has a long history delivering funding to bolster Utica’s transportations. This funding is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Schumer led to passage last year, in combination with additional funding through FY22 appropriations that he secured. Additionally, just this past year Schumer secured $2,000,000 for the Utica Harbor Pedestrian Bridge to link Utica’s Harbor Point to the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium and the Nexus Center.

Schumer explained that North Genesee Street is the “Gateway” to Utica and its downtown, but the outdated infrastructure along the corridor has not kept up with the vibrant revitalization of the area. Schumer said this project will address the corridor’s safety and transportation constraints and create a seamless connection between North Genesee Street’s hotels and restaurants to downtown attractions like the Wynn Hospital, Nexus Center and Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

Specifically, this $18 million in federal funding for the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) will replace two deteriorating bridges that cross the Mohawk River and the National Historic Erie Canal that connect North Utica and rural areas to Utica’s downtown center. The new bridges will be widened to accommodate four travel lanes; one center left turn lane, add aesthetic improvement like greenery, and two 10-foot-wide multi-use paths on both sides of the corridor to ensure bicyclists and pedestrians are safe and have greater access to the economic and entertainment hubs of the city. The project will also improve access to the Empire State Trail, just named best rail trail in the country, significantly improving outdoor recreation and tourism to the region. NYSDOT anticipates the project will reduce the number of crashes by approximately 34%.

A copy of Schumer’s original letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg appears below: 

Dear Secretary Buttigieg:

I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program for the North Genesee Street Gateway Bridge and Multimodal Connector project. 

With funding, NYSDOT will complete the North Genesee Street Gateway Bridge & Multimodal Connector project (Project). The Project will replace two aging bridges and address existing safety and active transportation constraints through the installation of multiuse lanes and traffic signals along the gateway highway (Route 921C) of Utica, New York. North Genesee Street is the “Gateway” to Utica and is the “Main Street” of Downtown Utica’s business and residential district. Utica is undergoing revitalization with the repurposing of historic buildings into loft apartments, a new downtown hospital under construction, and investments into a world class recreational facility (Nexus Center).Downtown Utica is also the multi-modal hub for Transit, Amtrak, Adirondack Scenic Railroad, and CSX rail lines for freight.

This project will improve bus transit infrastructure and will improve access to major shopping (including groceries) and health care facilities that are located just south of the Project area in downtown Utica. The Project will also improve access to the 750-mile Empire State Trail. The Empire State Trail has become a major tourist destination that, in March 2022 was named the best rail trail in country by Outside Magazine. The Project is a continuation of other recent NYSDOT and local investments along North Genesee Street. The new (replacement) bridges will be widened to accommodate four travel lanes; one center left turn lane; and two 10-foot-wide multi-use paths on both sides of the corridor extending to the 2 southern project limit (Wurz Avenue). Currently, only 5-foot sidewalks exist which do not accommodate bicyclists and in many areas are deteriorated and not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. “Gateway” treatments such as decorative light-emitting diode (LED) and/or solar lighting and fencing will provide additional safety as well as an attractive entry into the City of Utica.

The Project will reduce barriers to opportunity and help increase equity for the population living in census tracts that are identified by the Office of Management Budget as “Historically Disadvantaged” and “Transportation Disadvantaged” adjacent to the project area through the improvement and expansion of bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. I applaud the New York State Department of Transportation for its foresight and sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.

Thank you for your consideration.

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