SCHUMER ANNOUNCES: WINNING BID TO DREDGE THE ROCHESTER HARBOR EXPECTED NEXT WEEK, AND WORK WILL BEGIN EARLY THIS SUMMER – SCHUMER SUCCESSFULLY SECURED $2.3 MILLION ARMY CORPS NEEDED TO FULLY DREDGE HARBOR
In December, Schumer Successfully Secured Fed Funding As Part of FY2016 Spending Bill – Schumer Argued The Cost of Not Dredging the Rochester Harbor Would Have Meant a Loss of Commercial and Recreation Revenue & Could Have Put Local Jobs At Risk
Dredging Funding Was Particularly Important, Since New City of Rochester Marina Opens for Business, Boaters in 2016; Schumer Secured $1.5 Million Federal Grant in 2011 to Help Construct Marina
Schumer: Fed Funds Can Now Keep Rochester Harbor Clear For Commerce & Recreation
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that the Army Corps of Engineers expects to award the contract to dredge the Rochester Harbor next week, and a full dredging of the harbor is expected to begin in May 2016. Schumer said this is great news for the City of Rochester, and means Rochester is one step closer to seeing this project completed. The harbor was last dredged in 2014, when 200,000 cubic yards of material were removed from Sandy-impacted areas, and is in need of dredging to remain clear for commerce and recreation. Schumer said this dredging will enable the harbor to continue serving as a vital passageway for the City of Rochester, which greatly relies on a clear harbor to generate nearly $10 million annually in recreational benefits and support more than 140 local jobs. Schumer said keeping the port dredged is also critical for public safety, as the Rochester Harbor is a designated Critical Harbor of Refuge for Great Lakes vessels and the base of operations for the U.S. Coast Guard Station Rochester.
“This is great news for the City of Rochester, as well as the residents and local businesses that rely on the harbor for both recreation and tourism revenue. This marina plays a key role in the local economy, and keeping this critical channel navigable and maintained will clear the way for increased job creation and economic development for generations to come,” said Senator Schumer. “I was proud to fight for the funding that will make this project possible – and the news that the contract will soon be awarded and the work started early this summer will ensure there is not a hitch in the process.”
“Clearly Senator Schumer recognizes that a Port of Opportunity is emerging at the Port of Rochester and he’s making sure everyone in Washington understands that vision,” said Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “Continued dredging will make the Port more attractive for commerce, including small cruise lines and other Great Lakes boaters, which will bring more tourist dollars and the jobs they create to our city. Thanks to Senator Schumer, the Army Corps’ investment in the port will benefit all of Rochester, because it will help us create more jobs, which leads to safer, more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for all of our children. Today’s announcement is further proof that Rochester’s citizens are truly fortunate to have such an effective Congressional delegation working on their behalf in the nation’s Capital.”
In December, Schumer announced the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill included $2.32 million in federal funding to dredge the Port of Rochester’s Harbor in 2016. Schumer explained that the Army Corps requested this funding for the Rochester Harbor in its FY 2016 Civil Works Budget through the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill. In March 2015, Schumer wrote to urge federal appropriators to allocate this $2.32 million in the annual appropriations bill. Schumer explained that the Rochester Harbor is a major driver of revenue and tourism, particularly when it comes to recreation. Rochester Harbor is home to 1,034 recreational slips, 5 boat launch lanes, and 26 charter boats. The Port of Rochester generates approximately $9.9 million annually in recreational economic benefits.
According to the Army Corps, if the harbor is not dredged, there could be a reduction of the bulk commodities that pass through the harbor that generate an annual $1.2 million in direct commercial revenue and support 95 direct, indirect, and induced commercial harbor jobs that produce over $6.2 million per year in personal income for residents. Schumer explained that, in past years when the harbor was not dredged, companies that use the harbor often were forced to transport goods and products by truck, decreasing the revenue generated for the City and increasing the level of inconvenience for producers. For example, the Essroc Cement barge, the Stephen B. Roman, ran aground. This left Essroc to transport its cement products less efficiently and more costly by truck. According to an Army Corps estimate if the harbor was not dredged and closed to commercial traffic, the cost to transport commodities, like cement by truck would increase costs by $1,438,000 and the cost of reducing its loads would increase transportation costs between $130,000 and $288,000 annually.
The dredging will also support the opening of the new public Marina at the Port of Rochester. In 2011, Schumer helped secure a $1.45 million federal Department of Interior Boating Infrastructure Grant which was the final funding piece needed to fund the construction of the new City of Rochester Marina in Charlotte at the mouth of the Genesee River on Lake Ontario. With construction of the Marina completed this year, the new marina will open for business this upcoming boating season.
Schumer also said keeping the harbor dredged is important for safety reasons. That is because Rochester Harbor is designated as a Critical Harbor of Refuge for Great Lakes vessels and the base of operations for the U.S. Coast Guard Station Rochester. Approximately 220,000 cubic yards of material must be dredged every two years from the harbor for it to keep pace. Superstorm Sandy supplemental funding supported the dredging of approximately 200,000 cubic yards of material from storm-impacted harbor areas in summer 2014, however, the harbor was last routinely dredged in 2009. Schumer said a full dredging is needed in 2016 to keep this vital passageway clear for economic development and safety purposes.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s original letter to the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee appears below:
Dear Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Feinstein:
I write to request that you include $2.32 million for dredging Rochester Harbor in your FY 2016 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill. The Army Corps requested $2.32 million for the Rochester Harbor in their FY 2016 Civil Works Budget, and I urge you to maintain that level in the upcoming Energy and Water Development funding legislation.
It is vital that the Army Corps receives the money it needs to dredge Rochester Harbor. The Rochester Harbor generates recreational economic benefits totaling more than $9.9 million and supports 141 jobs. If the harbor is not dredged, there would be a reduction of bulk commodities that pass through the harbor which generate $1.2 million annually in direct revenue, while supporting 95 direct, indirect, and induced jobs that produce over $6.2 million per year in personal income. Keeping the harbor dredged is also important for safety reasons. Rochester Harbor is a Critical Harbor of Refuge for Great Lakes vessels and the base of operations for the U.S. Coast Guard Station Rochester.
Approximately 220,000 cubic yards of material must be dredged every two years. Superstorm Sandy supplemental funded dredging of approximately 200,000 cubic yards of material from storm-impacted harbor areas in summer 2014, but the harbor was last routinely dredged in 2009. In past years when the harbor was not dredged, the Essroc Cement barge, the Stephen B Roman, ran aground. Losses of between two and three feet of channel depth in the Harbor are estimated to result in increased transportation costs of between $130,000 and $288,000 annually.
Thank you for your consideration of this important request. The Rochester Harbor plays a key role in the regional economy; keeping this harbor navigable and maintained will ensure that Upstate New York and the greater Great Lakes region will continue to see the benefits associated with Rochester Harbor in the years to come.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator