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WITH FEDERAL FUNDING FOR ERIE CANALWAY NATIONAL HERITAGE CORRIDOR AT RISK, GILLIBRAND, SCHUMER, TONKO, HIGGINS, MORELLE, DELGADO PUSH TO EXTEND CANALWAY’S FUNDING CAP IN MUST-PASS NATIONAL DEFENSE BILL

Aug 15, 2019
Press Release
Members Also Call to Raise Federal Funding for the Erie Canalway by an Additional $2 Million

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), and U.S. Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY-20), Brian Higgins (D-NY-26), Joseph Morelle (D-NY-25), and Antonio Delgado (D-NY-19) announced their push to extend and raise the federal funding cap for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. Unless a provision to extend and raise the cap is included in the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference bill, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor will be ineligible to receive significant federal funding in the next appropriations cycle. In a letter, the members called on the chairmen and ranking members of the NDAA conference committee to raise the lifetime funding cap for the Erie Canalway by an additional $2 million to ensure that the Erie Canalway can continue to receive its annual appropriations.

 

“The Erie Canal is one of our most important historic treasures. The legacy of the canal and its national significance help drive our local economy by promoting tourism for communities along the corridor,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “As it stands, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is at risk of losing the federal funding it needs. We cannot allow this to happen, which is why I’m calling on Congress to include a House-passed provision to extend and raise the funding cap for the corridor in the final NDAA bill. This will ensure that the Erie Canalway’s rich tradition and history can continue to be preserved for generations to come.”

 

“The Erie Canal is a crucial economic engine for tourism in Western New York, not to mention one of the state’s greatest attractions and most impressive features. We have to do everything possible to preserve the history and beauty of the Erie Canal for the long-term future, so that it can be enjoyed by generations of New Yorkers and Americans to come,” said Senator Schumer. “That’s why I’m urging my colleagues in Congress to include a provision in the final NDAA that will raise and extend the funding cap for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, allowing it to continue receiving the federal support it needs to thrive. More than ever, we have to make sure our local governments and communities in Upstate New York have the resources required to protect treasures like the Erie Canal.”

 

“New York’s Erie Canalway is filled with stories of our heritage, of diverse people and cultures that offer wisdom and strength that can only come from connecting deeply with our own history. Allowing our Canalway to hit its federal funding cap would be devastating to New York and to all who cherish this valuable resource, an outcome I have been fighting to prevent since I discovered it was overlooked by Congress earlier this year. We made real progress when my amendment to correct the error was passed by the House last month, bringing us a step closer to ensuring our precious waterway can be preserved and the communities that depend on it can keep working to grow, thrive, and help tell some of America’s most important stories for years to come,” said Congressman Paul Tonko.

 

Congressman Brian Higgins said, “The Erie Canal played a significant role in Western New York’s history and continues to be a catalyst for our future,  creating a waterfront experience only the canalway corridor can claim.  Extending  the cap makes economic sense for the good it does protecting the jobs the Erie Canalway supports and contributing to the economies in the 200 municipalities it touches.”  

 

“The Erie Canal is one of Rochester’s greatest assets and a historic piece of our community fabric,” said Rep. Joe Morelle. “The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is a treasure that promotes new educational opportunities and activities along the Canal, helping to cement our community’s place as a world-class tourist destination. We must extend their funding cap immediately and preserve our ability to share the Canalway’s rich history with everyone who visits Upstate New York.”

 

“The Erie Canal has a rich history throughout Upstate New York and continues to attract tourists and adventure-seekers to Montgomery County and surrounding areas.” Rep. Antonio Delgado continued, “to continue this legacy and support our local economy, I joined my colleagues in urging leadership to include a House-passed provision to extend and raise the funding cap for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. Fixing this funding error will ensure the waterway is maintained and supported for the community to enjoy.”

 

"New York State’s 500-mile-long system of navigable waterways connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes is a national treasure. Raising the funding cap will enable us to continue the vital work of protecting and promoting this historic waterway," said Bob Radliff, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

 

In their letter to the NDAA conference committee, the members note that although the expiring statuary caps for many national heritage corridors were extended in the Lands Package that was signed into law earlier this year, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor was left out of the cap extension. As conferees reconcile the House- and Senate-passed NDAA bills, the members urge the conferees to ensure the House-passed provision that extends and raises the funding cap for the Erie Canalway is included in the final, conferenced bill.  

 

The full text of the letter may be found here and below:

 

The Honorable James Inhofe

Chairman

Senate Armed Services Committee

228 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

 

The Honorable Jack Reed

Ranking Member

Senate Armed Services Committee

228 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

 

The Honorable Adam Smith

Chairman

House Armed Services Committee

2216 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Mac Thornberry

Ranking Member

House Armed Services Committee

2216 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairman Inhofe and Smith and Ranking Member Reed and Thornberry:

 

We write to express our strong support for the provision titled Section 1099U related to funding for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor in the House-passed (H.R. 2500) Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (FY 2020 NDAA). This provision, which increases the statutory cap amount of funding for this important national treasure, will help local communities in New York along the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor continue to thrive and preserve history.

 

In order for it to continue receiving its annual appropriations, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor needs its statutory funding cap raised this year. In the recent Lands Package that was signed into law most of the areas with expiring caps had their caps raised, but unfortunately the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor was inadvertently left out of the cap extension. As you begin conference negotiations to reconcile the House and Senate-passed NDAAs, we request that you insist on including the House’s provision in the final conference bill to correct this oversight.

 

SEC. 1099U. FUNDING LIMITATION FOR THE ERIE CANALWAY NATIONAL HERITAGE CORRIDOR.

Section 810(a)(1) of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Act (Public Law 106–554; 114 Stat. 2763A–303) is amended, in the second sentence, by striking “$12,000,000” and inserting “$14,000,000”.

 

As you prepare the Conference Report, we urge you to include this important provision to help protect this nationally significant piece of history. We thank you for your leadership, and appreciate your consideration of our requests.