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Schumer Pushes For Nearly $18 Million In Funding To Improve The Port Of Albany; Funds Will Be Used To Demolish & Rebuild A New Warehouse, Reconstruct Maritime Terminal & Port Roadway And Improve Terminal Safety

Federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant Program—Which Schumer Has Secured for NY Projects In The Past—Provides Federal Funds to Important Transportation Projects That Create Jobs & Boost Economy 

Schumer: Port of Albany Deserves To Claw Fed TIGER Funds   

Calling it a hub of job creation and economic activity critical to the regional economy, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today stood at the Port of Albany and announced a major push to secure a federal grant for the port that will help the Capital Region and Upstate manufacturers export their products across the nation and globe via the Hudson River. Schumer said this much-needed grant would help improve current obstacles like moving and storing heavy cargo and supporting Capital Region manufacturers that develop next-generation technology equipment that is super-sized and over-dimensional for road or rail transport.  

“The Port of Albany has been a major hub of job creation and economic activity for generations, but it has needed some critical infrastructure upgrades for years to better accommodate for the larger cargo shipments our manufacturers need to export. This major overhaul has real potential to reshape the face of this critical maritime transportation hub, and would finally allow our manufacturers across the state to export the next-generation technology and manufacturing equipment that was previously too large to ship out of Albany,” saidSchumer. “This project is the definition of what TIGER grant funding is all about, and that’s why I’m urging the DOT to award the nearly $18 million in funding that will make this project a reality.”

The Port of Albany, according to its 2015 Annual Report, generates roughly $800 million in regional and statewide economic output annually. It provides 1,400 jobs locally and 4,500 jobs statewide. The port makes roughly $3 million in annual revenue as a result of tenant leases and, from 2010-2015, the port achieved a 15 percent increase in vessel calls at the port. Schumer said this port is a hub of regional economic activity, and is critical to job creation.

That is why Schumer is urging the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) to support the Port of Albany’s application for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant funds. Schumer explained that the port is applying for nearly $17,629,800 in TIGER funds that will allow it to improve heavy lift, project cargo and containerized cargo handling capabilities. The overall project – called ExPort Upstate NY – is expected to cost $50 million, and the remaining funds will be matched by the Port and State funds, which are already committed. Schumer called this federal TIGER grant funding the missing piece of the puzzle.

According to the Port of Albany, such a major overhaul of the port would help support regional manufacturers developing next generation technology export their products via the marine highway, as the equipment is often too large in size for road or rail transport. Schumer explained that enabling this market to take advantage of exporting products out of the Port of Albany would allow the manufacturing industry to continue to grow in Upstate New York. Schumer said this could not only directly create jobs throughout the Capital Region but also indirectly spur job creation throughout the manufacturing industry across Upstate NY. The Albany Port District Commission, which runs the port, estimates the project will create 500 local and statewide jobs. The project is expected to spur new jobs between the construction and operations phases and support innovation among local manufacturers that require a dependable, experienced transportation partner.

Specifically, these TIGER funds would allow the Port of Albany to accomplish four major tasks in order to make the ExPort Upstate NY project a reality:

  • First, the Port of Albany would be able to demolish and rebuild the 58,000 square foot on dock warehouse to better fit the big lift system.
    • According to the Port of Albany, this upgraded facility would replace cargo handling and storage capacity and allow it to be absorbed by the newly installed and implemented “Big Lift” system. Ultimately, this replacement would allow cargo to move from ship to warehouse to truck or rail for distribution and vice versa more easily.
  • Second, these TIGER funds would allow the port to reconstruct the entire outdoor maritime terminal on the Albany side of the port.
    • This improvement is important because it is where cargo storage and staging occurs, and where the internal terminal siding of the Big Lift transportation pathway will be developed on approximately 20 acres.
  • Third, with these funds, the port would be able to reconstruct the port roadway.
    • This is where the external portion of the Big Lift system will be developed on approximately 5 acres. It will allow for cargo to be stored and loaded onto vessels in the port more easily and efficiently.
  • Finally, the Port of Albany would be able to complete critical terminal improvements.
    • These funds would allow the Port to make new safety and security upgrades, like entrance hardening features.

Schumer was joined by Richard Hendrick, General Manager of the Port of Albany; Kathy Sheehan, Mayor of the City of Albany; and ‎Jeff Connelly, Vice President of Global Supply for GE Power.

“The awarding of this highly competitive grant would be a catalyst for the Port’s $50M infrastructure and heavy lift capacity improvements. It will create hundreds of local jobs and enable the Port to handle the type of heavy-lift cargo that is the future of manufacturing and critical for the operations of major industries in New York. Last year, 60% of international cargo handled at the Port was heavy-lift cargo for companies such as General Electric, Dresser-Rand, Siemens, Bechtel and Iberdrola. One piece of heavy cargo can weigh upwards of 800,000 lbs, requiring specialized rail, crane, storage and infrastructure. This grant would ensure our region’s ability to remain competitive in the production of the next generation of heavy equipment. We thank Senator Schumer for his critical support of this important project that will have economic benefits across Upstate New York,” said Richard Hendrick, General Manager, Port of Albany.

The TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant Program was developed to spur a national competition for innovative, multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional transportation projects that promise significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, a region or the nation. Projects that typically receive TIGER grants include improvements to roads, bridges, rail, ports, transit and intermodal facilities, and Schumer noted that the Port of Albany plan fits squarely within the program’s mission.