U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced today that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has unlocked more than $10 million in federal funding for major transportation projects in Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse. The funding was allocated for transportation projects ten years ago, but remained unspent and blocked from reuse by federal rules. However, a newly enacted Schumer-backed law gave FHWA and NYSDOT the authority to repurpose any unspent money to newer projects that are needed. As a result, Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse were awarded portions of this funding to complete three critical projects that include the creation of a Onondaga Lake-to-NYS Fairgrounds trail, extending the Onondaga Creekwalk From Jefferson Street to Colvin Street, and reconstructing portions of the Connective Corridor.
“For over a decade, funds that could have been spent on critical infrastructure projects in Syracuse and Onondaga County have been under lock and key, guarded by federal bureaucracy,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. “But now this money has been unlocked and can be used in Onondaga County on critically-needed projects that are ready-to-go, like enhancing the connectivity and accessibility between the region’s prized attractions: NYS Fairgrounds, Onondaga Lake, Syracuse University and Armory Square.”
“I’m pleased that these important federal funds are finally available for the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Communities across Central New York need access to modern infrastructure in order to stay competitive with the rest of the state, and these transportation funds will help us achieve that goal.” Schumer and Gillibrand explained that NYSDOT and FHWA will reallocate more than $10 million in funds to the following projects in Onondaga County and Syracuse:
Creation of a Onondaga Lake-To-Fairgrounds Trail ($5,022,717)
Extending the Onondaga Lake Trail from the New York State Fairgrounds to the southern lakefront area, connecting Central New York’s newly transformed assets.
Phase II of the Onondaga Creekwalk ($4,055,695)
Funding Phase II of The Onondaga Creekwalk, which involves constructing a continuous pedestrian/bicycle trail that will extend the existing Creekwalk within the Onondaga Creek Corridor, from Armory Square (West Jefferson Street) south 2.2 miles to West Colvin Street.
Renovating a portion of the Connective Corridor ($475,000)
Improvements to a portion of the Connective Corridor on East Genesee Street leading to Syracuse University.
Schumer and Gillibrand said unlocking these funds allows the county and city to use them on new, worthwhile projects that fit their current vision for the region. In 2015, Schumer fought to secure a provision in the omnibus spending bill – the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 – that allows states, in consultation with the FHWA to repurpose unspent federal funds originally earmarked for more than 10 years ago, where at least 90 percent of the funds remained unobligated.