12.16.15

FOLLOWING YEARS OF WORK, SCHUMER SECURES MAJOR VICTORIES FOR UPSTATE NEW YORK IN RECENTLY ANNOUNCED FEDERAL BUDGET

Schumer Announces That The Bipartisan Budget Bill Is Filled With Dozens Of Important Victories For Upstate New York 

Schumer Successfully Pushed For Funding Priorities Including HOME Funding, SAFER Grants for Firefighters, HIDTA Funding to Combat Drug Crime, Water-Sewer Grants & More

Schumer: Budget Bill Is A Major Win For Upstate NY

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced, following years of work, major victories that will greatly help Upstate New York were included in the recently-announced omnibus bill Schumer said these victories will boost the economy and support vital programs, including: crime prevention, middle-class tax breaks, clean water, education and many more. Schumer provided statements for several major areas in which the budget will be a major boost for Upstate New Yorkers. 
  
The bill includes the following victories for Upstate New York: 

HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME)/ Community Block Development Grant (CDBG) Program

“Investing in strong neighborhoods is an important victory to help economic development efforts in Upstate neighborhoods by providing homeownership, rental assistance, and housing rehabilitation funds. We were able to secure $950 million for HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) funding and $3 billion for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. Without this critical funding, already vulnerable neighborhoods could have been devastated,” said Schumer. “That is why I fought tooth and nail to prevent the proposed cuts to the HOME programs --  and to fund the CDBG program. This funding means local governments and communities will now have the resources they need to provide families and their children with safe and affordable housing options and can continue the neighborhood revitalization efforts that are critical to local economic development.”  

The HOME program received a draconian $834 million cut in the Senate Transportation Housing and Urban Development bill. Thanks to Senator Schumer’s advocacy the program will be receiving a $50 million increase.

High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (HIDTA) 
“We were able to secure $250 million for the HIDTA program – an important victory that will help Upstate and federal law enforcement slow the spread of drug overdoses and deaths. The recent epidemic of drug overdoses and deaths continues to ravage communities across Upstate New York. The rise in abuse of fentanyl-laced heroin, which can be 50 times more potent than heroin alone, is downright terrifying,” said Schumer. “With more HIDTA funding on the way, federal and local law enforcement officials can share more information, equipment, manpower, and resources to fight this epidemic.”

Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant Program

“This bill contains a major victory for communities across Upstate New York now pursuing economy-boosting transportation projects. The bill reverses the proposed House cut and fully funds the TIGER Grant Program, which is so critical to communities in Upstate. Everything from returning cars to Main St. in downtown Buffalo, to the transformation of Rochester’s Inner Loop, to improvements to the Capital District and Hudson Valley bus services have been funded by TIGER grants in the last few years,” said Schumer.

Earlier this year, the House of Representatives proposed severe cuts to the TIGER Program that would have reduced the popular program to only $100 million nationally, making it virtually impossible for Upstate cities to compete for funding. This budget agreement restores those cuts, and fully funds the TIGER Grant Program at $500 million that will help pave the way for many more TIGER Grants for New York communities in the years to come.

Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund

“This bill contains an important victory for New York’s water infrastructure: we were able to secure $1.9 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $863 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. This federal funding will help provide critical support to sewer projects across Upstate, many of which are long overdue. New York has some of the oldest sewer systems in the country, and the Clean Water Fund can be leveraged to affordably invest in water infrastructure,” said Schumer. “In any given year, we have hundreds of sewer projects in Upstate New York that are in need of funding, so I was proud to go to bat for this program to ensure that funding for New York was not scrapped or put on the back burner. Now I’m urging my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress to vote for this bill so we can send this to the President’s desk. Having effective sewer systems are critical to public health and helping New York towns and villages grow and prosper.”

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Satellites
“This bill contains an important victory to enhance our weather satellites capabilities to predict more accurate extreme weather conditions: we were able to secure $370 million for weather satellites. In the era of super storms and worsening lake-effect snow across Upstate New York, accurate weather forecasts are not a luxury – they are a necessity. The information we gather on weather from high above the earth translates into safety on the ground,” said Schumer. “It was just plain dumb to consider cutting hundreds of millions from our weather satellite system just when catastrophic storms are getting more extreme and more frequent.”

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) Inspectors

“We secured an extra $5 million for more TTB inspectors to accelerate the processing of applications, which boosts entrepreneurship and the economy. Craft breweries and distilleries throughout Upstate New York pour locally-sourced products and jobs into our economy, which is why I fought tooth and nail to make sure their exciting growth was not choked off by bureaucratic red tape and delays caused by federal regulators. The excruciating wait times were not only delaying business expansion but even putting some start-ups in jeopardy,” said Schumer. “With this new budget agreement, the red tape that was once stalling growth could be unwound now that Congress is providing more federal funding to increase TTB inspectors. This means Upstate New York distillers and brewers could soon get quicker approvals so they can really begin to tap into their full potential.”

Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) And Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER)

“It is critical we invest in our fire departments. This bill includes an important victory to pay for more fire equipment and hire and retain more firefighters: we were able to secure $690 million for our brave firefighters, who risk their lives every day to protect our communities, and deserve to have the state-of-the-art equipment needed to do their jobs safely and effectively. Simply put, the persistent short-changing of the AFG and SAFER grant programs was unacceptable, and with this increased funding, more of our local departments will have access to the equipment they need,” said Schumer. “I strongly urged my colleagues to increase funding for these two critical programs that deliver vital resources to our fire departments across Upstate New York. I’ve fought my whole career to bring more federal resources to our volunteer and career fire departments – that is exactly why I worked double-time to keep our firefighters and communities safe this year.”

Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
“This bill contains an important victory to preserve Upstate New York parks: we were able to secure $450 million for preservation efforts across the country. For five decades, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has provided millions in federal funding for dozens of parks across Upstate New York. In the process, it has preserved hundreds of acres of parks, generated billions in economic activity, and created over 300,000 jobs in New York State. That’s why I fought tooth and nail to urge my colleagues to reauthorize this critical program,” said Schumer. “Soon enough, residents and visitors can rest assured that parks, across New York and the nation, will be fully funded for another 50 years.”

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