U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced his effort to secure $10.1 million in federal funding for three critical infrastructure projects in the Capital Region that are in desperate need of repair:
the Troy Seawall, the Amsterdam Dove Creek Wall, and the Cobleskill Water Supply project.
Specifically, Schumer urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to swiftly approve funding for these three New York State high-priority Hazard Mitigation Grant Program applications: the City of Troy needs $6.7 million from FEMA to begin the construction of its seawall stabilization project, which can begin in earnest next year if FEMA quickly approves the funds.
The City of Amsterdam is seeking $1.1 million in federal funding for repair of the Dove Creek Wall, and the Town of Cobleskill is seeking $2.3 million for repairs to its water supply system.
“These three projects would bring scores of benefits to residents nearby, from preventing future flood damage, to encouraging waterfront development,” said Schumer. “FEMA should quickly approve these grants because – when critical infrastructure like the Troy Seawall is in need of extensive repairs and protective measures – there is simply no time to waste. If the federal government can step in and help, that spares the budgets of local governments and taxpayers, allowing them to use local resources to support other initiatives. The sooner these cities and towns can begin planning for these projects, the sooner the Capital Region will reap the benefits, like construction jobs, a healthier water supply, and faster waterfront development.”
Schumer explained that New York has determined these three Capital Region projects as top priority for the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), and now FEMA must approve the projects and their funding levels. The HMGP program provides grants to states and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration.
The purpose of the HMGP is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster. The HMGP is authorized under Section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
Schumer said the Troy Seawall stabilization project, in particular, should be funded as quickly as possible. The wall was initially constructed in 1922 and underwent repairs in 1978, over 30 years ago. Climate change, increased ice flows, erosion and other naturally occurring events are threatening to severely compromise the integrity of the seawall, which protects sewer systems and stabilizes nearby buildings.
If the wall were to suffer serious further damage before repairs, the result could be catastrophic in financial and environmental terms.
The City of Troy is concurrently planning $27 million in construction along the waterfront to develop the area and provide more housing opportunities. The FEMA grant would pay for wall repairs that would start at State Street and go north along Riverfront Park past the Green Island Bridge to Hutton Street, near the Hedley building. Besides basic maintenance and repairs, the FEMA grant would fund the encasement of the Seawall in corrugated steel. Schumer said the project is long overdue, and needs to be prioritized by FEMA for an expedited review and approval process.
Press Release, February 13, 2014