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Higgins: $10 million for Times Beach on Buffalo's Outer Harbor


Wed, Jan 19th 2022 04:50 pm

‘Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’ funds project led by US Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District

Congressman Brian Higgins announced $10 million in new federal funding provided through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Law will be invested in Times Beach Nature Preserve on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. The funding was included in a list of waterway and port infrastructure projects released by the White House that will be led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives, Higgins said, “Once a dumping ground for contaminated Buffalo River sludge, today Times Beach is a vibrant, 55-acre home for wildlife and a destination for visitors. This funding will support work by the United States Army Corps Buffalo District to fortify the break wall at Times Beach, to help restore public access that was lost in storm damage two years ago, and to reduce the influence of that kind of damage from happening in the future. This funding builds on previous federal Great Lakes and Infrastructure investments that are transforming Buffalo’s waterfront and revitalizing the Western New York community.”

USACE Buffalo District Cmdr. LTC Eli Adams said, “The additional funds provided by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will greatly enhance the Corps of Engineers’ resources for developing, managing, restoring and protecting the nation’s water resources. The dike wall at Times Beach is a key to the resiliency of Buffalo’s coastal infrastructure and protects 45 acres of wetland habitat and an important bird sanctuary for over 230 species. Unfortunately, it is also in significant disrepair. The $10 million for federal funding towards this site will provide us the opportunity to partner with Erie County and carry out some much-needed work. We look forward to working with our nonfederal sponsors to get this work under way as soon as possible.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “Times Beach is a beautiful natural site that hosts thousands of migratory birds and other wildlife, just moments away from the downtown city core. It’s a peaceful but fragile ecosystem that is very vulnerable to bad weather due to its location, and the site has suffered extensive damage during recent winter storms. This funding announcement is very welcome news, and I thank Congressman Higgins, the U.S. Army Corps and the Biden administration for their focus on infrastructure projects that improve our lives and protect our natural spaces.”

The bipartisan infrastructure law will provide $14 billion this year alone for 500 water and port infrastructure projects through the Army Corps of Engineers that are intended to strengthen supply chains and protect the environment.

The $10 million for Times Beach provided through the infrastructure law is in addition to more than $32.1 million in federal funding included for Western New York in the Army Corps civil works budget for fiscal year 2022. Buffalo Harbor will receive $20,908,000, Black Rock and Tonawanda Harbors will see a combined $10,600,000, and $680,000 will go toward Dunkirk’s harbor.

This funding builds on more than $100 million in federal investments made along the Buffalo waterfront over the past decade, including reconstruction of Fuhrmann Boulevard and Ohio Street, and improvements to Union Ship Canal, Ship Canal Commons, the Times Beach and Industrial Heritage nodes, Gallagher Beach, Lake Kirsty and Tifft Street piers, and public access improvements to the Buffalo Lighthouse site.

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