June 12, 2019

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce $800K in Federal Railroad Administration Funding for the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority in St. Lawrence County

Federal Funding Will Be Used To Acquire New Equipment To Boost The Multi-Modal Capabilities Of New York & Ogdensburg Railway And Port Of Ogdensburg

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $800,000 in federal funding for the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Railway Administration’s (FRA) Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant Program, and will be used to acquire equipment such as a railcar unloading conveyor, a stockpiling conveyor, two front-end loaders and a vessel loading conveyor, improving the operations of the New York & Ogdensburg Railway (NYOG) and the Port of Ogdensburg. Schumer and Gillibrand previously wrote to the Department of Transportation (DOT) last September to support Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority’s application.

“Modern, reliable and affordable rail infrastructure is absolutely critical when it comes to attracting industry and business to rural areas Upstate. With this federal funding, the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority will be able to acquire new equipment that slashes transportation costs by allowing for bulk loading and unloading at the Port of Ogdensburg,” said Senator Schumer. “I’m proud of the role I played in securing this federal funding and will always fight for investments that bring sound transportation options to our rural Upstate counties.”

“This federal funding is great news for the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, which will now be able to make important safety improvements to its equipment and facilities,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Investing in rail systems helps promote local economic development, which can be critical for rural communities like the North Country. I was proud to fight for this funding, and will continue to work so that railways all over New York receive the resources they need to be safe, modern, and efficient.”

Schumer and Gillibrand explained that the new equipment will boost the multi-modal capabilities of the railroad and port by enabling the facility to unload and stockpile bulk materials and for vessel and truck loading. The senators argued that not only would this help to improve the natural environment, by removing trucks from the road and reducing carbon emissions but that it would also enhance the economic vitality of the region by lowering transportation costs for industry. The senators said that NYOG plays a fundamental role in the St. Lawrence County and North Country economy by providing local industry with sorely-needed transportation services. NYOG’s linkage to the Port of Ogdensburg is critical to the local agricultural sector; mining sector; and other industrial sectors who need economic transportation facilities for the exportation of their products to their customs nationally as well as internationally.

The FRA’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program seeks to fund projects that boost the safety and general operations of both passenger and freight railroads across the country. The program was established and authorized by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015.

A copy of Schumer’s letter to DOT appears below.

Dear Secretary Chao:

I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority’s application to the Federal Railroad Administration’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant Program. This grant would enhance the multi-modal capabilities of the New York & Ogdensburg Railway and the Port of Ogdensburg, New York.

The funds would be used to purchase equipment such as a railcar unloading conveyor, a stockpiling conveyor, two front-end loaders, and a vessel loading conveyor. The equipment will improve the multi-modal capabilities of the railroad and port by enabling the facility to unload and stockpile bulk materials and for vessel and truck loading. By maximizing the multi-modal features of these facilities, we remove trucks from our highways and improve the environment by reducing carbon emissions.  More-importantly, it enhances the economic vitality of the region I represent by reducing transportation costs to industry.

The NYOG plays a crucial role in this Rural Area of New York State by providing transportation services to local industry. It’s linkage to the Port of Ogdensburg is important to the local agricultural sector; mining sector; and other industry sectors who need economic transportation facilities for the exportation of their products to their customers at home and abroad. I applaud the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority for their contributions to our region and sincerely hope the application meets your approval.

Thank you for your consideration.  Please do not hesitate to contact me or my Grants Coordinator in Washington, DC office at 202-224-6542.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

A copy of Gillibrand’s letter to DOT can be found here and below.

Dear Administrator Batory,

            I write in support of the application submitted by the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority for funding from the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant Program through the Federal Railroad Administration. This funding will be used to enhance the multi-modal capabilities of the New York and Ogdensburg Railway and the Port of Ogdensburg.

The Port of Ogdensburg is a vital and unique infrastructure asset in Northern New York. It is the only U.S. port on the St. Lawrence Seaway and one of the closest U.S. ports to Northern Europe, making it highly economical for ships to import and export from Ogdensburg. Additionally, the Port has a connection to the CSX rail system and is a designated Foreign Trade Zone. However, the Port is in need of upgrades and improvements to overcome some limitations of its design that hinder and restrict port operations as well as hold back the Port's growth potential and economic impact.

            The requested funding will be used to purchase equipment that includes a railcar unloading conveyor, stockpiling conveyor, two front-end loaders, and a vessel loading conveyor. The equipment will improve the multi-modal capabilities of the railroad and port by enabling the facility to unload and stockpile bulk materials as well as improve vessel and truck loading. By maximizing the multi-modal features of these facilities, trucks will be removed from the highways, helping to improve the environment by reducing carbon emissions. Funding will enhance the economic vitality of the region by reducing transportation costs to industry and increasing the use of the port and railroad system.

            I ask that you give this application your full consideration. If you have any questions, or desire further information, please do not hesitate to contact my staff member, Laura Driscoll, at (202) 224-4451.

Sincerely,

Kirsten Gillibrand

United States Senator