Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced a bill to eliminate the cost-sharing requirement for Economic Development Administration (EDA) projects to fund the refurbishment of former military facilities for civilian uses. Congressman Michael Arcuri introduced the House version of the legislation.
"During this time of economic difficulty, local governments cannot afford to be burdened with the costs of salvaging and refurbishing former military facilities for civilian uses," Senator Gillibrand said. "This legislation would give affected communities access to federal funds to refurbish former military facilities without having to jump through hoops far out of their reach, allowing them to gain back some of the jobs lost."
"Allowing our local municipalities to affordably refurbish former military bases in order to create economic development in the local economy is critical to the success of these communities throughout New York State," Rep. Arcuri said. "I want to thank Senator Gillibrand for taking the lead on this issue in the Senate as I have done in the House and pledge to work with her to move this important legislation through Congress to the benefit of many Upstate communities."
Military bases are often economic engines that drive local economies and provide job opportunities. Their presence helps attract businesses to the area and create more jobs. The connection between military bases and local communities are so deep-rooted that local economies can be devastated when bases close.
Facilities in New York that could take advantage of this program include:
Armed Forces Reserve Center (Amityville)
Navy Recruiting District Headquarters (Buffalo)
Navy Reserve Center (Glens Falls)
Navy Reserve Center (Horseheads)
Niagara Falls International Air Guard Station (Niagara Falls)
Army National Guard Reserve Center (Niagara Falls)
Carpenter U.S. Army Reserve Center (Poughkeepsie)
Plattsburgh Air Force Base (Plattsburgh)
Fort Totten (Queens)
Rome Laboratory (Rome)
Defense Finance and Accounting Service (Rome)
Griffiss Air Force Base (Rome)
Schenectady County Air Guard Station (Schenectady)
Seneca Army Depot (Seneca County)
Naval Station New York (Staten Island)
Navy Reserve Center (Watertown)
The EDA can help local governments refurbish military bases for civilian uses. However, the cost of refurbishing these facilities can be unaffordable for communities that are already economically devastated.
Local governments are typically required by the EDA to contribute 30 to 50 percent of the cost to refurbish a military base. However, due to job losses suffered as a consequence of base closures, local governments are left without the necessary tax revenue to match the EDA's expected contribution. This can keep local communities from receiving assistance from the federal government, which would help them move forward.
Senator Gillibrand's legislation would eliminate the cost-share requirement, allowing local governments or redevelopment agencies to access federal funds without having to pay a certain amount of money first in order to qualify for assistance.
New York lost more than 1,300 jobs as a consequence of 12 military installations and centers slated for realignment or closures in the most recent Base Realignment and Closure review. Senator Gillibrand's legislation would provide communities across New York with the resources they need to maintain jobs during the ongoing and future Base Realignment and Closures.