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In 2005, Town of North Hempstead Secured $2M in Federal Funds For An Earmarked Project That's No Longer Needed; Until Now, Federal Rules Have Blocked Reuse Of Dollars; Earlier This Year, Schumer Pushed to Unlock Leftover Money So Town Can Pay For Critical Projects

Schumer Announces NYSDOT Unlocking $2 Million in Previously Secured Federal Transportation Funds for Town of North Hempstead 

Schumer: North Hempstead Now Has the Key It Needs to Access $2 Million in Previously Locked Funds

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced, after his push, $2 million in previously secured federal transportation funding has been approved for use by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) in the Town of North Hempstead. In  2005, the Town of North Hempstead was awarded a $2 million earmark for a repaving project on Grand Boulevard, Westbury, however, the project was completed using other funding and so, the money was never spent. Until now, federal rules blocked the reuse of funds even if the project was no longer needed.

However, a newly enacted Schumer-backed law now gives FHWA and NYSDOT the authority to repurpose any unspent money to newer projects nearby that are needed. Earlier this year, Schumer publicly urged the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and NYSDOT to allow the Town of North Hempstead to use these funds on four specific transportation projects in the Town of North Hempstead: revitalization of Port Washington’s Main Street, completion of the  Hempstead Harbor Trail and the Plandome Road Culvert, and development of Garden City Park Industrial Zone.

 “Finally, North Hempstead has been given the key it needs to access $2 million in previously locked funds and the good news is, the Town will be able to use this money on local, critically-needed projects like the revitalization of Port Washington’s Main Street,” said Senator Schumer. “After ten years of being locked up in federal coffers, this federal funding will finally be put to good use and enable the Town of North Hempstead to get work on four shovel-ready projects. This leftover earmark will go a long way in creating local jobs and spurring the local economy.”

 “We thank Senator Schumer for assisting us in getting the approval to repurpose the use of federal transportation dollars. The new funding will enable North Hempstead to complete several new projects that will improve our infrastructure, benefit our residents while reducing the need for borrowing for projects. We are excited to break ground and get started,” said Supervisor Judi Bosworth.

In May, during his public push, Schumer highlighted several eligible and critically needed projects in the Town of North Hempstead that could benefit from this unused funding. Schumer noted that, without action, the funding could either continue to be locked away in federal coffers or be diverted elsewhere.

In 2005, The Town of North Hempstead received a $2 million in federal funding for a large scale repaving project on Grand Blvd. The money was never spent and is no longer needed because in 2015, the Town of North Hempstead conducted a smaller repaving project on the street that significantly improved Grand Boulevard’s condition.

Schumer helped pass a new provision in the FY2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act that would finally allow for these funds to be unlocked and repurposed for a new project. Specifically, the provision provides States, in consultation with the FHWA, the authority to repurpose older unspent earmarks to new eligible projects. According to the rule, the funds could be used on a newly needed project within fifty miles of the original project. Otherwise, the funds must be used for the originally intended project or remain unspent.

Schumer today announced that NYSDOT and FHWA has reallocated the $2 million in funds to the following projects in the Town of North Hempstead:

  • Revitalization to Main Street, Port Washington($500,000)
    • The improvements range from Port Washington Blvd to the Port Washington LIRR train station and comprise the 6 blocks of Main Street in Port Washington.  The work includes drainage improvements, storm drains and other infrastructure improvements to attract new businesses and improve a downtown community. (Project total is $1M)
  • Complete the Hempstead Harbor Shoreline Trail ($700,000)
    • The Hempstead Harbor Shoreline Trail is a popular local trail that is currently 1.25 miles long and funded with $800,000 from NYS Parks, Nassau County Bond Act, and local funds. Schumer said that $700k would help expand the popular trail to over 2 miles.  The development of this trail will significantly increase public access to the Hempstead Harbor coastal shoreline, provide scenic view corridors, preserve native plantings, provide interpretive signage, rest areas and preserve open space. The trail will act as a buffer for the Harbor and wetlands, enhancing water quality. The trail will provide a link to the recreational resources in the adjacent areas including North Hempstead Beach Park, Harbor Links Public Golf Course, playing fields and the Sand Miners Memorial into a recreational hub. (Project total is $1,867,000)
  • Complete the Plandome Road culvert reconstruction project ($500,000)
    • The Plandome Road Culvert connects Leeds Pond (a tidal pond) and Manhasset Bay.  The culvert is showing deterioration, and if it collapses it will sever Plandome Road, which is a major evacuation route for the Port Washington Peninsula. The Town obtained $1.5 million in state funds.  The project is expected to cost $2 million.  This project is shovel ready. (Project total is $2M)
  • Planning, design & engineering to support development of the Garden City Park Industrial Zone ($297,827)
    • The Garden City Park Industrial Zone is a section of Garden City Park, located between Herricks Road to the east, County Courthouse Road to the west, Jericho Tpke to the north and the LIRR main line to the South.  There is also a considerable amount of residences that borders the industrial zone. Due to the large number of heavy vehicles that travel these roads every day, there is considerable damage done to these local roads.  This money would design and engineer a plan to upgrade these roads to handle the heavy traffic and not impose on the residential traffic. (Project total is $300,000)