October 22, 2009

Schumer, Gillibrand Urge Federal Highway Administration To Provide All Necessary Assistance to Repair Crown Point Bridge

Schumer, Gillibrand Urge FHWA To Provide All Possible Assistance And Help In Any Way They Can To Expedite Repairs

Today U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand requested that the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA)  provide New York State's Department of Transportation with any and all assistance possible in the efforts to resolve the disruptive situation caused by the closure of New York's Lake Champlain bridge.  The Senators asked FHWA to agree to the state's request to invoke emergency contracting procedures so that when funding and construction needs are determined, the process can move forward as quickly as possible.  Specifically, this would waive the competitive bid process normally required when using federal highway funds, including stimulus funds should the state decide to use them.

The Senators also requested that FHWA provide any technical and institutional support needed to NYSDOT to resolve the situation as soon as possible.  They requested that FHWA be supportive of any requests that the State may make for federal funding.

"The closure of the Lake Champlain Bridge in Crown Point, NY has wreaked havoc on the lives of thousands of New Yorkers," said Schumer.  "It doesn't just affect those who need to cross the bridge, but has hurt businesses that rely on travelers for their revenue.  The FHWA needs to help New York State resolve this situation so that residents of the Capital Region and Northern New York can resume their daily routines as soon as possible.  To ask frequent travelers to drive substantial extra miles every day or use ferry service is not reasonable and cannot be our long term solution."

"The closing of this bridge is detrimental to North Country families and businesses and swift action is needed," said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee.  "I'm deeply concerned about the effects of this closure on the local economy during these already tough times.  I'm also incredibly concerned about the health and safety of local residents who rely on the bridge to reach medical services. It is critical that the Federal Highway Administration step up and provide the assistance necessary to repair the Crown Point Bridge."

FHWA carries out the Federal highway programs in partnership with the State and local agencies to meet the Nation's transportation needs. FHWA adds value to the delivery of the Federal highway programs by administering and overseeing these programs to ensure that Federal funds are used efficiently.