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Aubertine to Schumer, Gillibrand: Make Port of Oswego a Priority

 

U.S. Senate debating amendments that could jeopardize $237,500 considered critical for port

ALBANY (March 5, 2009)—As the U.S. Senate continues to debate amendments to the Omnibus Appropriations Act, state Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine has called on U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer to fight for the Port of Oswego.

“This bill contains critical funding for the Port of Oswego to grow and bolster the economy of Central New York,” Sen. Aubertine said. “This port is a key component of the economic development efforts in this county. It’s a major selling point to developers and its continued growth is vital to our economic future.”

Rep. John McHugh last week announced the inclusion of a $237,500 appropriation for the port in the House version of the Omnibus Appropriations Act. This funding would go toward the East Terminal connector project to make improvements that include upgrading railroad tracks and constructing an adjacent road to link the terminal east of Fort Ontario to the port’s main terminal west of the fort. 

“This project will make operations at the port safer, more efficient and lead to the Port of Oswego becoming the first container port on the Great Lakes,” Sen. Aubertine said. “We are working together at the local level with the port’s executive director, and also at the state and federal levels to make this a reality. It is extremely important that we secure this funding and follow up with the investments we need to make for the economic future of Oswego County.”

Port of Oswego Executive Director Jonathan Daniels said that funding for Phase I is the “visible sign” that the port is moving toward improvements that will allow the port to handle standardized cargo boxes that can go directly from ship to truck to make bulk shipping even easier and cost effective. Container shipping will increase business at the port and benefit nearby industries, including agriculture, manufacturing and energy. Phase I is under design and if funding is approved, a contract could be awarded this spring.

“If we are able to isolate these dollars and put it into place for phase I, it is critical for us to move forward,” Mr. Daniels said. “It has been encouraging to see the way our representatives—Senator Aubertine, Congressman McHugh and our U.S. Senators— have worked with us to deliver what we need and be there to help us get this project up and running.”

In the letter to the U.S. Senators, Sen. Aubertine added that “As the stimulus package further unfolds in New York State and additional funding becomes available, I believe we can continue to join efforts at the state and federal levels to improve our economy in the region.”