WASHINGTON—Congressman Paul D. Tonko announced today that ALL 10 of his Capital Region Community Projects have been included in draft budget bill language recently released by the House Committee on Appropriations. Tonko has pushed hard for months to get the slate of 10 projects, which would bring a combined $14,447,500 in federal funding to the region—directly into the Fiscal Year 2022 budget. This legislation is expected to move quickly through the Appropriations Committee with the House expected to finalize its work on the budget in just the next few weeks.
“These projects reflect the kind of bold investment in our communities that has always driven strong economic growth, creates good paying jobs and enables our region and nation to reach our fullest potential,” Congressman Tonko said. “Getting all 10 of the Community Projects in the latest FY 2022 budget text shows the tireless work of my staff, our local leaders and community members and more than a few members of our local news teams who have helped bring these projects to life over the past several weeks. We have a long road ahead to finalize this funding, and my team and I will not stop until that work is done, but today’s news fills me with renewed optimism and brings us a huge step closer to bringing these federal dollars—and the impactful local investment they represent—home to our Capital Region.”
Tonko Spokesman Matt Sonneborn highlighted the congressman’s exceptional results, saying, “This kind of success in Congress doesn’t just happen, you have to push for it day in and day out. Congressman Tonko has spent years building close relationships across Congress and working humbly and tirelessly to get the job done for the American people and especially our constituents in New York’s Capital Region. Very few legislators or leaders at any level of government could do what he is doing here. And believe me, he’s not slowing down for anything.”
The 10 Capital Region projects Tonko has been pushing to fund include:
$3,000,000 to the City of Cohoes to install floating solar panels on the Cohoes reservoir and serve as a model for communities across the nation in building smart, clean energy systems that also drive down consumer costs. Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler: “The Cohoes municipal floating solar demonstration project will allow us -- and the thousands of communities who follow our lead -- to generate clean power and economic opportunity. Producing clean energy on the surface of our city water reservoir will reduce our municipal buildings’ electricity bills to zero, allowing us to reinvest that savings back into our community,” Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler said. “As a long-time advocate for clean energy and environmental justice, Congressman Tonko immediately understood the potential impact of our vision when we brought the Floating Solar idea to him more than a year ago, and he has guided and supported us every step of the way."
$3,000,000 to the City of Amsterdam for design and engineering of a pedestrian connector and the multimodal station.
$2,000,000 to the City of Amsterdam for a community center project to revitalize the neighborhood and create a welcome space for educational programs, art classes, cooking classes, recreation, and organized sporting events. Mike Cinquanti, Mayor, City of Amsterdam: “To secure this amount of federal funding will be so advantageous for the future of our City and the completion and ultimate success of Amsterdam's downtown revitalization. I would like to thank Congressman Tonko for his consistent and concentrated efforts to present, promote and fully explain Amsterdam's infrastructure needs and development plans to his colleagues in Washington and for continuing to be an effective advocate for this City.”
$1,687,500 to the Town of Westerlo to bring broadband internet access to hundreds of underserved households. Matthew Kryzak, Supervisor, Town of Westerlo: “With this grant opportunity Congressman Tonko has enabled Westerlo to provide much needed internet access to our residents. Without the efforts of Congressman Tonko and his staff Westerlo would remain disadvantaged in education and employment opportunities for our residents. Access to high speed internet will allow the children of our community to excel in the 21st century education system where remote learning has unfortunately become a necessity.”
$1,000,000 for the University at Albany to support the purchase of RNA research equipment that would better enable the region and state to address COVID as well as help advance new treatments for many other diseases including Myotonic dystrophy, Alzheimer’s disease and more. UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez: "The University at Albany is very grateful for Congressman Tonko’s strong support of our RNA Institute’s request for advanced technology to track, identify and study the SARS-Cov-2 virus and its variants,” said UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez. “This project is part of our goal of leveraging innovative technologies to address the public health threats our communities face, including the current surge of the Delta variant.”
$960,000 to the Town of Rotterdam to support improvements to their wastewater treatment plant to bring it up to modern standards. Supervisor Steven Tommasone, Town of Rotterdam: "The Town of Rotterdam is honored to be included in the House appropriations bill and recognized by Congressman Tonko for the continuous efforts made to invigorate our community. The town’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements Project is a worthwhile candidate for this funding and will be essential in the town’s efforts to promote economic development and bring reliable and modern services while striving to protect public health. We are one step closer to making these necessary upgrades and thank Congressman Tonko for his continued advocacy for our community in Washington."
$800,000 to the City of Mechanicville for their water reliability project to replace miles of old water mains currently serving thousands of Capital Region residents and businesses. Dennis M. Baker, Mayor, City of Mechanicville: “The City of Mechanicville is excited and grateful to be included in Congressman Tonko’s funding request that will allow the City to replace old and outdated water mains throughout the City. Aging infrastructure is a concern of every community, the help we are receiving by being include in Congressman Tonko’s funding request will go a long way in helping to address some of those concerns without burdening our City taxpayer with the entire cost of the upgrades.”
$750,000 to Capital Roots to expand the Urban Grow Center that provides affordable, quality fresh food to the residents across the Capital Region. Amy Klein, Chief Executive Officer, Capital Roots: “Capital Roots is grateful for the strong commitment of Congressman Tonko. He is dedicated to helping provide innovative ways to access healthy food with dignity, equality and affordability. With his steadfast support Capital Roots will be able to greatly expand and enhance a sustainable regional food system for farmers, producers and Capital Region residents.”
$750,000 for Schenectady Family Health Services, Inc. Hometown Health Dental Clinic to expand their dental clinic which provides critical services to families in the region, an expansion that is even more urgently needed after the announcement of the closing of Ellis hospital’s dental clinic, which has led Hometown Health to nearly double the number of Capital Region patients they serve. Joe Gambino, CEO of Hometown Health Centers: “We are going to build a state-of-the-art dental facility in Hamilton Hill which will benefit a great many children and adults,” said Joe Gambino, CEO at Hometown Health Centers. “Congressman Paul Tonko has been our champion. His determination and drive to get this project funded at the federal level will get us that much closer to making this dream a reality.”
$500,000 to Albany County for the Sheriff’s Homeless Improvement Program (SHIP) that provides a safe space for individuals most in need to access food, shelter, job development opportunities mental health and addiction services and more. Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple: “As the homeless population continues to grow in Albany County, these federal funds are vital for the expansion of the SHIP program. Our program has provided homeless individuals with a pathway to employment, healthcare, and other necessary life skills for a productive lifestyle. Thank you Congressman Tonko.”