BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Congressman Brian Higgins (D- NY26) announced approval of H.R. 4502 which is a package of seven appropriation bills making investments in federal programs and initiatives including infrastructure, education, small business and job opportunity.
The legislation now goes before the Senate for further consideration and would include the following for Western New York according to Higgins:
- Buffalo Naval Park: $490,000, requested by Higgins, for the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park to help with needed repairs for the USS The Sullivans, a national historic landmark.
- The Riverline: $900,000, requested by Higgins, to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority for The Riverline project. The design for the unique rails to trails project was announced recently by the Western New York Land Conservancy.
- Shoreline Trail at DL&W Station: $1,000,000, requested by Higgins, to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority toward Riverwalk improvements adjacent to the NFTA’s DL&W station connecting Canalside to the Buffalo River.
- Albright Knox: $1,000,000, requested by Higgins, toward Albright-Knox Art Gallery to support expanded public greenspace around the AKG Museum site and connections to the Frederick Law Olmsted designed park system.
- RAISE/TIGER/BUILD: Increases national funding for the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program by $200 million to $1.2 billion. The program, formerly known as TIGER or BUILD, has delivered over $43 million to the Cars Sharing Main Street program in previous years.
- Correcting Historic Transportation Mistakes: Includes language urging the U.S. Department of Transportation to make projects that repair divided communities a priority. Higgins has argued improvements to the Kensington and Scajaquada should be addressed under this measure.
- Transportation Justice: Creates a new Thriving Communities program, funded at $100 million for projects that address pollution, affordable transportation and increased mobility.
- Community Development Block Grants: Increases CDBG funding by $253 million to $3.7 billion. Buffalo, Niagara Falls and other municipalities in Western New York receive millions in funding through the program.
- Safe Homes: Provides $460 million, an increase of $100 million to address health and safety hazards in the home including lead, carbon monoxide and radon.
- NeighborWorks: Includes $185 million, a $20 million increase, for NeighborWorks, which supports affordable housing options and financial counseling. Local NeighborWorks offices include Niagara Falls, Black Rock-Riverside, and West Side.
- Workforce Development: $571,934, requested by Higgins, to the Buffalo Sewer Authority for the Buffalo Green Infrastructure Stewardship and Workforce Development Program. The project supports a workforce development pipeline within underserved communities in Buffalo to meet the growing need for clean and green infrastructure jobs.
- Opioid Recovery: $1,000,000, requested by Higgins, for the Erie County Department of Health to expand Erie County’s peer recovery program that embeds peer mentors to support mental health and opioid abuse services.
- Roswell Park: $1,495,583, requested by Higgins, for Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center toward the purchase of a new Computerized Tomography (CT) scanner for lung cancer screening.
- Medical Research: $49 billion for the National Institutes of Health, an increase of $6.5 billion, including $7 billion for the National Cancer Institute, which benefits work at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and $3 billion to establish the Advance Research Projects Agency for Health to speed research on devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer & ALS.
- Community Health Centers: $1.8 billion, an increase of $148 million for the Health Centers program, benefiting the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Neighborhood Health Center, Jericho Road, and Evergreen Health.
- Early Education: Increases early childhood programs by $3.1 billion including increases for Head Start, Preschool Development Grants and Child Care and Development Block Grants.
- Senior Services: Provides $1.4 billion for senior nutrition, an increase of $436 million and increases the Home and Community-Based Supportive Services program which supports a range of services from home healthcare to senior centers, by $158 million.
- College Aid: Increases the maximum Pell Grant by $400 to $6,895. Boosts Federal Work Study by $244 million, to $1.43 billion.
- Education (K-12): Provides an additional $25 billion for K-12 education programs. Increases Title I funds by 118 percent, a $10 million increase for school districts in NY-26, benefiting an estimated 50,000 children.
- Job Training: In 2020, NY-26 received $4.5 million in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA) grants. An 8.8 percent increase in WIOA budget will provide an additional $369,000 in federal funding for job training in WNY.
Financial Services & Government
- West Side Bazaar: $950,000, requested by Higgins, to Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) toward the new, expanded West Side Bazaar, a culturally diverse small business incubator.
- WNY Small Business Assistance: $750,000, requested by Higgins, for the SUNY Buffalo State Small Business Development Center to assist minority, women, and disadvantaged small business owners in Western New York grow an on-line presence and e-commerce opportunities.
- Startup and Entrepreneur Assistance: Provides an additional $60 million for the Community Development Financial Institutions program, which has been a resource for local businesses through programs offered by LaunchNY and Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI).
- Taxpayer Assistance: Increases Internal Revenue Service funding by $1.7 billion to $13.6 billion to expand tax counseling for the elderly, low-income taxpayer clinics and community Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), provided at sites in WNY.
- USPS: Requires the U.S. Postal Service to maintain six-day delivery and prevents the closing of small or rural post offices.
Military Construction & Veteran Affairs
- Veteran Services: Increases VA program funding by $8.7 billion to $113.1 billion.
- Veteran Health Care: Provides $98.5 billion for VA medical care, an 8 percent increase, including additional resources for mental health care, suicide prevention, homeless assistance, opioid recovery, and women’s health care. This increase will provide an additional $50.6 million in funding for veterans’ healthcare in NY-26, benefiting approximately 13,000 veterans in the district.
- Electronic Medical Records: Provides $2.6 billion, an increase of $10 million to continue the modernization of medical records allowing for interoperability between the VA and Department of Defense.
- VA Disability Backlog: Seeks to speed the processing of VA disability claims by providing $3.4 billion, an increase of $239 million.
Energy & Water Development
- Waterway Investments: Increases funding to the Army Corps of Engineers by $1.9 billion benefiting projects led by the Buffalo District including improvements to the Breakwater and work in the Buffalo, Black Rock Local and Tonawanda Harbors
- Investments in the Arts: Increases funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities to $201 million each. The NEA has delivered over $3.37 million to art and cultural organizations in NY-26 since 2005.
- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: Provides $375 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a $45 million increase, to support efforts to improve the health of the Great Lakes including the revitalization of the Buffalo River.
- Heritage Partnership Programs: Increases funding to $80,410,000 for Heritage Partnership Programs which support the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA
- Broadband: Over $4.95 billion toward Rural Development including a $165 million increase for rural broadband expansion.
- School Meals: Increases child nutrition programs by $1.774 billion, providing a total of $26.9 billion for school meals and related programs.
- Food Security: Provides additional funding to increase access to produce through the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program and additional protections to ensure the SNAP program doesn’t run out of necessary resources.