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In 2016, Schumer Successfully Pushed For +$17M To Improve The Port Of Albany; Funds Being Used To Demolish & Rebuild A New Warehouse, Reconstruct Maritime Terminal & Port Roadway, & Improve Terminal Safety

With Much Of Improvement Work Completed, Schumer Returns To Port Of Albany To Celebrate Exceptional Progress And Initiates New Push For Fed $$$ For Next Infrastructure Improvements 

Schumer To Feds: Added Investment Will Cement Port Of Albany As A Key Supplier & Staging Area For Off-Shore Wind Turbine Projects

On the heels of his successful multi-year push to deliver vital federal funds to the facility, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today returned to the Port of Albany to see first-hand how the $17.6 million U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) grant he secured in 2016 is being used to modernize the Port’s operations. Schumer said that the grant was critical to ensure that the Port remained a hub of job creation and economic activity to the Capital Region economy, as well as announced a new push for federal funding to further enhance its infrastructure. Schumer fought tirelessly for the DOT grant that is being used to improve port productivity and operations, like moving and storing heavy cargo via the construction of a Big Lift Maritime Warehouse, which is already complete and in use; the reconstruction of the South Wharf; and the installation and construction of a new cutting-edge “roll-on, roll-off” barge system. Additionally, Schumer launched a new effort to secure $24,791,920 in federal funding for the Port of Albany through the DOT’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Grant program, to continue the Port’s expansion, and spur hundreds of millions of dollars of outside investment in Albany County, including in promising off-shore wind turbine staging and supply, which could result in the creation of 1,600 new jobs.

“It’s such a joy to return to the Port of Albany and see the fruits of the more than $17 million in federal investment to expand and enhance operations docking in 2016. This funding is allowing the port to execute major upgrades to nearly all of its facilities that are helping it accommodate larger cargo shipments and exports that our manufacturers need to be competitive with the rest of the world,” said Senator Schumer. “And while it’s amazing to see the exceptional progress that’s been made in the time since, there’s still more we can do to ensure the Port of Albany becomes an even greater hub for economic opportunity and job creation, including as a critical component of the offshore wind turbine supply chain. That’s why today I’m urging the Maritime Administration to expediently review and approve the Port of Albany’s new application for federal funding, to help it set sail towards an even brighter future.”

First, Schumer touted all of the work being done at the Port of Albany thanks to the $17,629,800 DOT Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant that he secured in 2016. Schumer, across a multi-year period, led the charge to secure this grant by pushing DOT, including during a phone call to then Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. The funds have been used, in tandem with New York State funding, to initiate the ExPort Upstate NY project, which cost a total of $50 million. The project is a complete overhaul of the Port of Albany, and is supporting regional manufacturers developing next generation technology in exporting their products via the marine highway, as the equipment is often too large in size for road or rail transport.

Specifically, the TIGER funds have allowed the Port of Albany to make the following improvements:

  • First, the Port of Albany has constructed a 45,000 foot clear span, temperature controlled Maritime Warehouse to house its big lift system. The warehouse is currently occupied by Dagen Trucking and Logistics, and is used to transport and store heavy lift, power equipment.
  • Second, the Port of Albany is reconstructing 840 linear feet of the original South Wharf, as well as constructing and installing a cutting-edge “roll-on, roll-off” barge system, which will expand both access to and use of the wharf.
  • Third, the Port of Albany is designing a 60,000 square foot modern maritime warehouse that will begin construction next year. This facility will handle port cargo including paper pulp and other goods.
  • Fourth, the Port of Albany is reconstructing the entire outdoor maritime terminal on the Albany side of the port. This upgrade is critical, because it is where cargo storage and staging occurs.
  • Fifth, the Port of Albany is reconstructing the port roadway, allowing for cargo to be stored and loaded onto vessels in the port more easily and efficiently.
  • Sixth, the Port of Albany is making additional, assorted terminal security improvements.

Schumer argued that while all of these improvements already are and will continue the rebirth of the Port of Albany as a hub for job creation and economic activity, there’s still more that can be done to further enhance operations, and even have it become a vital component of the offshore wind turbine supply chain.

That’s why Schumer today launched a new push to secure $24,791,920 from the MARAD Port Infrastructure Development Grants program. With this funding, the Port of Albany will further expand and enhance its port facilities. Specifically, this port expansion will take place on 3,000 feet of land with waterside access on the Hudson River. The Port of Albany is planning to use the funding to design and construct new infrastructure such as access roads and a vehicular bridge, water, sewer, utility, and to deepen berths along the territory for ships to pull into.

Schumer explained that the new investment would be a major boon to both the Port of Albany and the Capital Region economy. Estimates show that the new expansion of the Port of Albany could result in between $300 and $400 million in new investment to Albany County, as well as create 1,600 good-paying jobs. Additionally, New York State has said that the expanded location could be perfectly situated to become a critical component of the burgeoning offshore wind industry, targeting it as part of the industry’s supply chain. Schumer said that in order for New York State to reach its suggested goals of having 2,400MW of offshore wind energy production by 2030, and 9,000 MW by 2035, the state’s port system will have to play a major role and receive upgrades to better handle offshore wind turbine cargo and distribution up and down the East Coast. This development will also better position New York State to attract new manufacturing companies that will build and deliver the technology to grow the use of offshore wind up and down the East Coast of the country. Furthermore, since the Port of Albany already has an extensive track record handling onshore wind turbines and cargo, it is perfectly set up to do the same for offshore wind turbines. Schumer said that considering the Port of Albany’s proposed expansion location and its relevant experience, the new DOT investment would cement its status as an essential component of the offshore wind turbine supply chain and as a key staging area for offshore wind turbines.

The Port of Albany is part of the established M-87 Marine Highway, which facilitates inland movement of goods to and from the Port of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ), Upstate New York, Western New York and Western Massachusetts. Additionally, the presence of the port has the added benefit of removing countless trucks from the metropolitan New York roadways, reducing both carbon emissions and vehicular accidents. Right now, the Port of Albany has a greater than $800 million economic impact and supports of 5,000 good-paying jobs.

A copy of Schumer’s letter to the Department of Transportation appears below.

Dear Secretary:

I am pleased to write in strong support of the application submitted by the Port of Albany for funding through the United States Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Maritime Administration (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Grants program. With more than $800 million in annual economic impact and directly and indirectly employing over 5,000 New Yorkers regionally and statewide, the Port of Albany (Port) is a key part of the established M-87 Marine Highway and a major artery in the Upstate New York economy, connecting inland movement of goods to and from the Port of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) throughout Upstate New York as well as Western Massachusetts, diverting trucks from metro New York and New Jersey roadways reducing carbon emissions. With funding, the Port proposes to enhance and expand port facilities, with a 25% increase in the working Port district to support Upstate New York’s economic development and expansion opportunities with expanded commerce on the Hudson River.

In 2016 and 2018, the Port’s growth strategy and market assessment identified that it was missing out on many economic development opportunities because a majority of their developable land was being used for commercial purposes. With more than twenty-five business tenants and an active maritime commerce area that is currently undergoing major investments and enhancements, the port is utilizing 97% of their available commercial property. Based on the strategic recommendation, the Port acquired 80 acres of undeveloped lands along the picturesque Hudson River, adjacent to the existing Port facilities. The Port’s expansion site includes 3,000 linear feet of waterside access on the Hudson River, 124 nautical miles north of the New York harbor. This expansion project would offer a uniquely large scale development site that will create new commerce on the Hudson River and result in an expanded intermodal facility in Upstate New York. In 2019, the Port is expected to conclude their feasibility work, acquire all state and local permitting and complete the approval process, making the site “shovel ready.” As part of the feasibility requirements, the economic and fiscal impact studies showed the Port’s MARAD Port Infrastructure Development Grant Proposal would result in 1,600 new jobs and potentially $400 million of new investment annually in Albany County. This proposal would not just benefit Upstate New York, as it is expected to attract new manufacturing operations to the United States to fulfill offshore wind supply chain necessary to supply many projects in the Northeast United States.

If awarded, the Port’s proposal would leverage resources, enhance intermodal facilities, catalyze investment and growth and support a critical network in the marine transportation system to provide substantial benefit to the metropolitan and upstate economies. I applaud the Port of Albany for its foresight, and am confident their application will not just meet, but exceed, your approval.

Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my office with any further questions.