Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Over $4 Million For Ithaca & Tompkins County Local Infrastructure Projects In Omnibus Spending Package; Funding Will Replace Crumbling Bridges, Bolster Downtown Economic Development, And Accelerate Ithaca’s Green Energy Goals

Mar 22, 2022

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the City of Ithaca and communities in Tompkins County will receive over $4 million in funding from the recently passed omnibus funding package for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 for critical local projects.

“From replacing deteriorated bridges to spurring economic development downtown and accelerating Ithaca’s clean energy goals in the fight against climate change, these projects will boost Tompkins County and pave the way for a brighter future,” said Senator Schumer. “This funding means jobs, more resilient infrastructure, and so much more. I am proud to have secured this over $4 million investment with Senator Gillibrand and I will always fight to ensure Ithaca and Tompkins County get the federal support they need.”

“I am proud to have helped secure these millions for Ithaca and Tompkins County to upgrade infrastructure, accelerate economic development, and invest in clean energy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This funding will help lay the foundation for Tompkins County’s future and I’ll keep fighting to bring federal dollars home to New York.”

Chairwoman of the Tompkins County Legislature Shawna Black stated, “The projects supported by this funding increase the accessibility and resiliency of our community. Investments in clean energy, affordable housing, and infrastructure are crucial and we’re grateful for this funding from our federal government. Thank you to Senator Schumer for his resolute support for communities in Tompkins County and Upstate New York.”

“Thank you to Senate Majority Leader Schumer for securing this important funding for our community. The city of Ithaca and our partners will now be able to execute crucial projects that will accelerate sustainable development efforts, expand needed community services, and address a needed infrastructure project within the City,” said Acting Mayor Laura Lewis, City of Ithaca

Assemblywoman Anna Kelles said, “I am deeply grateful to Senator Schumer and Gillibrand for being steadfast advocates for Tompkins County and delivering federal funds for projects that will have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of our community. I am thrilled to see funding for the integration of clean energy technology to help us mitigate and adapt to climate change, setting up Tompkins County to be a leader in New York’s energy transition. Tompkins County has one of the greatest affordable housing crises in the state and I’m grateful to Senator Schumer and Gillibrand for stepping in to support our efforts to expand walkable downtown affordable housing, expansion of prevailing wage jobs, and for their support of a conference center. This center will not only fill a long-standing need for public gathering space but stabilize the downtown hospitality jobs sector that has been devastated during the last two years of the pandemic. We are thankful to Senator Schumer and Gillibrand for making these major investments in our community.”

The senators said that these projects include:

  • $1,400,000 To Replace the South Albany Street Bridge Over Six Mile Creek

This funding would support finally replacing the deteriorated South Albany Street Bridge, make critical ADA upgrades, and safely link the primarily residential area south of the bridge to the communities, businesses and neighborhoods north of the bridge.

Tim Logue, Director of Engineering, City of Ithaca Department of Public Works said, “Crisscrossed by waterways, the City of Ithaca struggles to keep up with its infrastructure needs. The South Albany Street bridge over Six Mile Creek was originally scoped and budgeted to be a rehabilitation project; however, upon detailed inspection, it became clear that this bridge needs to be replaced. Thanks to Senator Schumer and Gillibrand, we can fill a significant budget gap and make the right decision at the right time for an important community asset that connects neighborhoods on the south side of the City,”

  • $1,000,000 To Bolster Ithaca’s Grid And Make It Greener & More Resilient

This funding for the City of Ithaca would develop a microgrid and allow for the integration of biomass gasification systems, further decarbonizing the city and surrounding areas, and increasing the resiliency and sustainability of Ithaca’s energy. Currently, the Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Plant (IAWWTP) relies on low-carbon electricity generating equipment powered by gas produced with sewage and food waste, and combined heat and power (CHP) to supplement electricity. This project would expand and integrate the existing distributed energy resources over a microgrid, to serve not only the IAWWTP, but also the Ithaca High School and the City of Ithaca Department of Public Works Streets and Facilities. The microgrid would integrate clean energy resources including biogas-powered CHP, solar, energy storage and biogas gasification systems for biochar and hydrogen production, not only diversifying the energy source making the system more resilient, but also potentially replacing existing diesel generators at all three facilities, helping to power the fight against climate change.

Luis Aguirre-Torres, Director of Sustainability, City of Ithaca said, “Every year there is an increase in frequency of extreme weather events affecting New York State residents. In preparation, the City of Ithaca is working on innovative solutions to increase its resilience and ability to withstand the effects of climate change. By funding this project, the federal government enables the city to demonstrate how social, technological and financial innovation can lead to a just transition to a green economy, effectively fulfilling the promise of the laboratories of democracy.”

  • $2,000,000 For The City Of Ithaca For Downtown Economic Development

This City of Ithaca will use this funding to address the remaining gap in its ongoing urban renewal and downtown development project to establish a state-of-the-art conference center as a component of the larger redevelopment effort occurring with the Green Street Parking Garage in Downtown Ithaca to add hundreds of units of affordable housing. This project will boost Ithaca’s businesses and accelerate the area’s local economic recovery by attracting new opportunities, businesses, and visitors to the region.

“On behalf of the Downtown Ithaca Local Development Corporation (LDC), as well as the Tompkins Chamber and Visit Ithaca, I would like to express our gratitude to Senator Schumer and Gillibrand for their advocacy on behalf of the Downtown Ithaca Conference Center Project,” said Jennifer Tavares, Downtown Ithaca LDC and Tompkins Chamber President. “This critical funding award will support not only closing our remaining funding gap, but help ensure that Ithaca has a state-of-the-art demand generator to support the continued recovery of downtown Ithaca and our regional tourism economy.”

“Thank you to Senator Schumer and Gillibrand for delivering $2 million to support the development of the Downtown Ithaca Conference Center. This project has received funding from local hotels, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, the City of Ithaca, Tompkins County, and New York State. Today’s announcement of federal support is transformative and is testament to the work and vision that the City and so many community partners have put together collectively over the past five years.” Tom Knipe, Director of Economic Development, City of Ithaca