02.24.09

SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND ANNOUNCE OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL INCLUDES $950,000 FOR WALKWAY OVER THE HUDSON

Funding Would Transform the Historic Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge into a Tourism Hot SpotBill Set to Clear Senate Next Week

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the Omnibus Appropriations Bill includes $950,000 for the Walkway Over the Hudson. The funding would be used to transform the historic PoughkeepsieHighland railroad bridge into the world's longest elevated pedestrian walkways. The bill will now proceed to the House and Senate Floors as the next steps in the appropriations process.
  
"The Walkway Bridge is poised to become one of the greatest tourist attractions in New York , and its opening will be the culminating event of the Quadricentennial Celebration," said Schumer. "We are taking a landmark piece of the Hudson Valley's industrial past and turning it into something that will draw visitors from every corner of the state and beyond-providing terrific opportunities for our local businesses and delivering a shotinthearm to the Hudson Valley economy."
 
"The Walkway Bridge will become the quintessential Hudson Valley tourist attraction," said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "These federal dollars will go a long way in helping local business make the Hudson Valley a destination for families and businesses. New York needs all the federal dollars we can get to help support the State's infrastructure and create jobs for our communities. I will continue to work with Senator Schumer to ensure that New York receives its fair share."
 
Schumer toured the historic Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge in April, a cornerstone for next year's celebration, and reviewed plans for it to be transformed into Walkway Over the Hudson. The historic rail bridge is undergoing a major renovation and development in preparation for the Quadricentennial, as local developers work to complete it in time for the 400year anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage up the river. The project will transform the bridge into a pedestrian path for biking, waking and jogging, as well as expand it into a park for recreation and other community activities.
 
The Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge opened in 1888 as the longest bridge in the world and served a great role in this country's industrial revolution. By 1943 as many as 3,500 trains crossed the tracks every day. In 1974, however, a fire severely damaged the tracks and the use of the bridge as an artery of commerce came to an early end. It has since laid dormant as a reminder of the Hudson Valley's strong industrial past.
 
In 1992, plans were hatched to transform the historic bridge into a major economic boon for the region-the Walkway Over the Hudson. When opened, the Walkway is expected to draw 267,000 visitors annually to jog, walk, cycle, or simply enjoy the scenery 212 feet above the Hudson River. Public use of the Walkway is expected to generate $21 million in economic impact for the MidHudson Valley. It is also expected to generate $1.3 million in new overall tax revenues for local and county governments.
 
In April of last year, Senator Schumer visited the historic PoughkeepsieHighland railroad bridge and reviewed plans for it to be transformed into the Walkway Over the Hudson. The project will convert the bridge into a pedestrian path for biking, walking and jogging, as well as expand it into a park for recreation and other community activities. Funding from the FY09 Omnibus Appropriations Bill will support efforts for completion of the bridge rehabilitation in time for the October unveiling 2009 as part of the 400 th anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage along the Hudson River.
 

The House is expected to vote on the bill tomorrow with the Senate set to vote next week.



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