3:49pm

Tue February 19, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Schumer wants federal funds to upgrade Port of Oswego

The Port of Oswego could be in line for some business-boosting help from the federal government. Sen. Charles Schumer is hoping to use his clout to get some help to keep the port growing.

Over the past few years, the Port of Oswego has become popular in the global shipping industry. But Schumer says there needs to upgrades to the infrastructure for the port to continue to expand. For one thing, the rehabilitation of a crumbling railroad built in the 1960s.  

"The port handles a thousand rail cars annually. Do you know how many they handled a few years ago?  Zero," said Schumer. "So imagine in just a few years from zero to a thousand. If we fix the rail line it could be thousands more. And the means jobs for central New York."

The senator is looking for a one-and-a-half million dollar federal loan to fund that. Schumer also says the port needs a piece of machinery that handles large containers.

"I'm calling on the GSA part of the federal government to identify a piece of this equipment and transfer it to the port through its surplus equipment program. We know there are some of these very cranes sitting there that the federal government doesn't use for defense and other things.  We want one here."

The third-ranking Democrat in the Senate is optimistic he has the influence to make these plans a reality.

"I have a little clout in the Senate. There's going to be a new transportation secretary. He or she will come to my office and say I want your support, and I will say, 'yeah, and I want a few things,' and at the top of my list will be this loan for the port of Oswego, the rail loan for the Port of Oswego."

Schumer also says he will ask for funds for more dredging for the port.

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