Downstate NY Member of House Appropriations Committee Learns about Local Projects Receiving Over $181.5 Million In Federal Dollars
BUFFALO, NY – On Wednesday, January 9, 2008, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) led Congressman Steve Israel (NY-2) on a tour of several of the major developments occurring in downtown Buffalo and along the inner and outer harbor. Congressman Israel, a waterfront representative from downstate New York, serves on the House of Representative’s Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Energy and Water.
“My colleague Steve Israel is a member of the most powerful committee in Congress and works hard representing a waterfront community on Long Island,” said Congressman Higgins, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “Steve is a is an influential decision maker, and this tour is a great opportunity for him to observe first-hand where federal investments in Western New York are going, to demonstrate real progress with those investments and to discuss where we hope to be in the future.”
First stop on the tour was the new federal courthouse currently under construction in Niagara Square. The over $120 million project, fully funded by the federal government, began in October after an eleven year effort to gain federal support. The new facility which will feature necessary improvements to space and security will be completed by 2010.
Next, the Congressmen toured Buffalo’s Inner Harbor. Projects discussed included:
· The Inner Harbor Redevelopment Project which includes the historic commercial slip and Naval & Serviceman’s Park where significant work has already been completed under Phase I and Phase II is scheduled to begin this spring. ($14 million in federal funding)
· An inner harbor parking facility planned to accommodate visitors to the Erie Canal Harbor, Canal and Great Lakes Museum, Riverwalk and Greenway Trail, Buffalo Central Business District and Aud redevelopment site. ($13.3 million in federal funding)
· The Canal Side mixed-use development that will include shops, residential space and cultural attractions. ($245 million in New York Power Authority Relicensing Settlement funding)
The tour concluded with a visit to the Outer Harbor where the Congressmembers discussed:
· The Outer Harbor Greenbelt which will open this spring. This shoreline restoration and lakefront access project includes a bike and pedestrian path along the water’s edge. ($640,000 in federal funding)
· Consolidation of the Sector Buffalo Coast Guard base which will open up public access to 20 acres of valuable outer harbor land including the historic lighthouse. Final planning will begin this year. ($3.1 million in federal funding)
· Reconstruction of Fuhrmann Boulevard from a confusing, unsafe and underutilized road to a two-way tree-lined, waterfront parkway that will finally deliver access to the water’s edge. Construction will start this year. ($22.5 million in federal funding)
· The Greenway Trail Project, a pedestrian-bicycle trail connecting the downtown waterfront to the Outer Harbor via Ohio Street and providing a 2.5 mile trail along Fuhrmann Boulevard. ($980,000 in federal funding)
· A study of potential at-grade bridge connections linking the inner and outer harbors as alternatives to the Buffalo Skyway. ($2 million in federal funding)
· NanoDynamics – A local company with headquarters on the outer harbor that receives federal funding through Defense appropriations and Energy and Water appropriations ($5 million in 2006 and 2007)
“Congressman Higgins is as strong an advocate for his constituents as they come,” Congressman Israel said. “I’ve been hearing about his Buffalo waterfront initiative for years and was excited to have the opportunity to see it firsthand. I look forward to working with Brian to make sure that Buffalo gets its share of resources to make this possible.”
Congressman Israel represent’s New York’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes primarily Suffolk County and a portion of Nassau County comprising of the Long Island towns of Huntington, Babylon, Islip, Smithtown and Oyster Bay. First elected in 2000, Rep. Israel is now serving his 4th term in Congress. In addition to his service on the Appropriations Committee, Israel is Co-chair of the House Cancer Caucus, Co-Chair of the Long Island Sound Caucus, Co-Chair and founder of the House Center Aisle Caucus and a previous member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Financial Services Committee.