Federal funds frozen for a decade will be released to the town of North Hempstead for use on several infrastructure projects following a recent push by Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that $2 million in federal transportation funding secured for the town in 2005 will be distributed.
“After 10 years of being locked up in federal coffers, this federal funding will finally be put to good use and enable the Town of North Hempstead to get working on four shovel-ready projects,” Schumer said in a news release.
The funds were originally granted for the reconstruction of Grand Boulevard in New Cassel, but the money went unused because the road was only resurfaced, former Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman told Newsday in May. The road was repaved in 2015, but federal rules blocked the reallocation of funds, until December, when a new provision was passed under the 2016 federal Consolidated Appropriations Act.
The law, which Schumer supported, allows unspent federal funds to be repurposed for new uses within 50 miles of the original project. Since December, the Federal Highway Administration and the state Department of Transportation have been reviewing eligible projects and announced this week that the $2 million would be released to North Hempstead, said a representative from Schumer’s office.
Schumer raised concerns in the past that the funds would be used outside the town for state infrastructure projects, such as rebuilding the Tappan Zee Bridge.
The money will go toward four projects in the town: $500,000 to revitalize Main Street in Port Washington, which would improve storm drains and the downtown community; $700,000 to expand the Hempstead Harbor Shoreline Trail by 2 miles; $500,000 to reconstruct the deteriorating Plandome Road Culvert; and $300,000 to upgrade the roads within the Garden City Park Industrial Zone.
The town already budgeted for these projects in this year’s capital plan, and the newly released funds will offset project expenses, said town spokeswoman Carole Trottere.
Supervisor Judi Bosworth said the town is looking forward to breaking ground and getting started on the projects.
“The new funding will enable North Hempstead to complete several new projects that will improve our infrastructure and benefit our residents while reducing the need for borrowing for projects,” Bosworth added.