SCHUMER LAUNCHES TWO-PRONGED PLAN TO REVITALIZE DOWNTOWN KINGSTON; SENATOR SECURED FIRST-STEP DOWN PAYMENT ON PROJECT, PUSHES FOR OVER $20 MILLION PROJECT TO RECONNECT KINGSTON NEIGHBORHOOD’S TO WATERFRONT, CREATE JOBS, INCREASE WALKABILITY, PRESERVE ENVIRONMENT, & TRANSFORM DOWNTOWN
Schumer Delivers Fed Funding In Omnibus For Long-Overdue Study To Bolster Shoreline; Says Increased Funding He Fought To Secure In Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Can Boost Kingston Downtown & Transportation
Senator Launches Effort To Secure Rebuilding American Infrastructure With Sustainability And Equity (RAISE) Grant To Create Transportation, Electric Vehicle, And Flood Infrastructure Needed By The City
Schumer: Let’s Put Kingston In The Fast Lane For A Transportation & Downtown Transformation!
Standing with the waters of Kingston at his back, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today launched his two-pronged plan to revitalize Kingston’s downtown and launch his push for critical federal support to boost transportation and transform the city’s waterfront.
First, Schumer announced that he has secured $100,000 in federal funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to study stabilizing the bulkhead on the Rondout Creek, a key first step to revamping the waterfront. Second, Schumer revealed that Kingston will be eligible to tap into the significant funding he secured in the bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law, and announced that he has sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Buttigieg backing Kingston for their application for funds from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure With Sustainability And Equity (RAISE) Grant to reconnect neighborhoods to the waterfront.
“This downtown waterfront revitalization is key to achieving equity in the city, creating jobs, bolstering economic development, and helping one of the true gems of Kingston – its waterfront – finally shine to its truest potential. For too long Kingston’s neighborhoods have been separated and lacked full access to their picturesque waterfront, and it is time we change that. As majority leader, when I led the bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law to passage, I had places like Kingston in mind and projects like the waterfront revitalization with all the good-paying local jobs and economic impact it could have on our downtown businesses,” said Senator Schumer. “Projects like Kingston’s will increase quality of life, reconnect neighborhoods to the waterfront, and revitalize the local economy. That is why I am proud to be able to deliver critical funding to get shoreline stabilization underway and why I am going to keep fighting tooth and nail to get Kingston the robust federal support it needs to pave the way to a brighter future.”
Schumer said that the $100,000 he secured as a part of the Fiscal Year 2022 spending package will kick-start an Army Corps of Engineers project to analyze existing conditions of the bulkhead and plan for shoreline stabilization and protection along Rondout Creek on the City of Kingston’s waterfront. This study is a crucial first step in determining the engineering feasibility necessary for further federal investment. Schumer said a shoreline stabilization construction project will protect Kingston's business district, the Hudson River Maritime Museum, the Cornell Building--a structure that is eligible for both the National and State Registers of Historic Places, and the City's wastewater treatment plant from future flooding. The Army Corps has already declared a federal interest determination due to the close proximity of the wastewater treatment plant to the bulkhead and shoreline. In addition to protecting existing assets, stabilization will protect future assets from future flooding risk and boost the economy by providing protections for boat and pedestrian access to the river.
In addition, Schumer also explained that Kingston will benefit from several programs included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), including $11.5 billion for New York in new highway funding for New York State. This amount includes an estimated $289 million for New York in Transportation Alternatives funds to build out walking and biking facilities. Local entities like the Ulster County bus system, UCAT, will also get a major boost from the IIJA with $ 8,062,133 in direct funding, which is on top of the nearly $5 million UCAT received in the CARES Act, and $1,310,895 from the American Rescue Plan.
The IIJA also contains critical plus-ups for popular programs like RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) Grants, formerly known as BUILD or TIGER, which fund transportation projects of national and regional significance and is funded in the bill at $7.5 billion over five years, with $1.5 billion per year. The recent Fiscal Year 2022 spending bill included an additional $775 million, bringing the total amount for FY22 to $2.275 billion. The City of Kingston recently applied for funding through RAISE for their “Weaving the Waterfront Transportation Project” that will significantly expand the walkability of the waterfront through new paths, grow greenways, connect residents from underserved neighborhoods to the downtown, and bolster the waterfront business district. Senator Schumer wrote directly to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg earlier this year advocating for the project.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to Secretary Buttigieg supporting Kingston’s RAISE application appears below:
Dear Secretary Buttigieg:
I am pleased to once again write in support of the grant application submitted by the City of Kingston to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2022 RAISE Transportation Discretionary Grants Program for the Kingston Weaving the Waterfront Transportation Project. The City of Kingston aims to construct much-needed active transportation infrastructure, electric vehicle charging stations, and flood resilience measures throughout the City of Kingston’s downtown waterfront area. The proposed project will ignite economic growth by revitalizing the City's picturesque waterfront while making it more accessible to Kingston residents seeking social services and job opportunities.
The City of Kingston has worked closely with my office on its Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, a locally prepared comprehensive land and water use plan for the City's natural, public, and developed waterfront resources along the Hudson River and Rondout Creek. Earlier this year, I helped secure $100,000 in federal funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to study stabilizing the bulkhead on the Rondout Creek, a key first step to revamping the waterfront. Having long worked with Kingston and Ulster County officials to ensure the continuity of social services and economic success in the area, I am confident that this crucial federal investment in the Kingston Weaving the Waterfront Transportation project will deliver much-needed infrastructure improvements to the City while also advancing equity and economic opportunity for its residents.
Specifically, this project will provide critical multi-modal commuting and recreational non-vehicular transportation routes that connect the City’s residents and visitors from lower-income neighborhoods and the Midtown and Waterfront business districts to the waterfront area along the Rondout Creek and the Hudson River. The paths in this area, also known as the Rondout Riverport, will provide viable commuter corridors for circulation to and from the historic business district, complete the Kingston Greenline and the Empire State Trail at the Waterfront, and connect to the region’s future 520-acre Sojourner Truth State Park.
The Kingston Weaving the Waterfront Transportation Project also addresses current and predicted flooding from the tidal Rondout Creek and Hudson River by elevating roadways where spring high tide threatens to damage existing infrastructure and prevent access to one of the most frequented public parks for the City. Additionally, the project will create three new electrical vehicle-charging stations at key locations to fill out an expanding network of charging stations in the City of Kingston. This initiative will ensure that practical, sustainable, easy-to-navigate carbon-free solutions are available for commuting to business districts and enjoying the cultural,recreational, and natural amenities of this unique area.
I strongly urge the U.S. DOT to support the City of Kingston’s request and applaud the City for its foresight. Thank you for your consideration of this important surface transportation project of local, regional, and State significance.
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