Senator Charles Schumer


Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island Still Closed Post-Sandy

Monday, February 04, 2013

Three months after Sandy, Liberty Island and Ellis Island are still closed and without power.

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In Inaugural, New Yorkers and New York Play Outsized Role

Monday, January 21, 2013


In a program less than a hour long, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and upstate New York were heard from, or invoked.


Transportation Nation

Sen. Schumer: Fast Action Needed for New Amtrak Tunnel

Friday, September 28, 2012

(New York, NY -- Ilya Marritz, WNYC)  Senator Charles Schumer  (D-NY) warned on Friday that it will get more and more difficult to construct two Amtrak rail tunnels linking New Jersey and midtown Manhattan, unless the forces of government and the private sector quickly align.

"There is a major issue that has to be resolved right now or else the project may end up in the graveyard, as it did with ARC,"  Schumer said, referring to a previous rail tunnel plan that was killed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in 2010.

The reason? A new mixed-use neighborhood is being built on Manhattan's west side, on a platform directly above the site where the rail tunnels would emerge from below the Hudson.

"Amtrak's engineers have determined that the only place they can bring these new tunnels into Manhattan is under Hudson Yards, along a Long Island Railroad right of way," Schumer told real estate developers at a breakfast gathering organized by the New York Building Congress.

Schumer said the Related Companies, which are building the Hudson Yards neighborhood, are prepared to cooperate with Amtrak and the federal government. But Related plans to begin construction by the end of this year, making the Amtrak project especially urgent, the senior U.S. Senator from New York said.

"We will need contracts, design plans, and construction dollars to flow over the next six to twelve months to make this a reality. We need action, we need it fast," Schumer said.

The Senator said his next step will be to work to get agreements inked between the parties, so tunnel construction can begin before the end of 2013.

Schumer will also lobby for federal dollars to build the tunnels, known as the Gateway project. He estimates Gateway will require $20 million in 2013, and $100 million in 2014 for preliminary work.

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Transportation Nation

Biking Big Snaps Senator Schumer on Disputed Bike Lane

Monday, March 19, 2012


Senator Charles Schumer on the Prospect Park West Bike Lane (Paul Steely White photo)

Kind of hard to think up a more imaginative twist to the Prospect Park West bike lane story -- yesterday, while riding his bike with his daughter Anna, Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives and one of the motivating forces behind the high-profile lane, yesterday almost literally bumped into Senator Charles Schumer riding on the lane.

"My three year old Anna and I were riding our bikes to the park. And all of a sudden as we approaching the park I saw what looked like Senator Charles Schumer riding on the Prospect Park West Bike lane. I whipped out my cell phone and snapped the shot," White tells us. "And as I was taking the photograph he looked at me and smiled and said, I ride all the time."

Schumer's wife, Iris Weinshall, the former City Transportation Commissioner, was a major backer of the lawsuit to remove the lane.

That lawsuit was dismissed, though that dismissal is being appealed.

Schumer's office had no comment.

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Transportation Nation

Transit Tax Deduction Amendment Doesn't Make Payroll Deal

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New York Senator Charles Schumer has been pushing to restore the transit tax deduction as part of the payroll tax deal.

But as of late Wednesday,  Schumer's office said the amendment was not part of the deal.

In December, Congress let a tax break for transit riders expire.  The benefit gave both drivers and transit riders $230 in pre-tax dollars to spend on commuting.  As of January 1, transit riders lost $105 in deductions, and drivers gained $10

Schumer still has an amendment to get the benefit restored in the Senate Transportation bill, but the fate of that bill is uncertain.

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Transportation Nation

Schumer Caught on Tape: Xanadu Mall Money Should Have Gone to ARC

Monday, May 09, 2011

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood with Rep. Jerrold Nadler (left) and Senators Charles Schumer and Frank Lautenberg (far right) (Photo: Jim O'Grady/WNYC)

WNYC's Jim O'Grady caught this exchange on tape this morning as pols were gathering at Ray LaHood's high speed rail presser at New York's Penn Station -- (Transportation Nation)

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, NYC MTA Chair Jay Walder, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chief Chris Ward, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler.

Schumer: Hey, good to see you!  Mr. Walder, Mr. Secretary, how are you? Chris!

Ward: Senator!

Schumer: How we doing on the, um, Xanadu? I'm very interested in seeing (inaudible) teasing her, and I said the money should have gone to the ARC.

[Schumer was referring to NJ Governor Chris Christie's decision last week to put hundreds of million of dollars of public funding behind a private mall project -- after killing a $9 billion transit tunnel under the Hudson last fall.]

Lautenberg: Yeah well, there wasn't --

Schumer: Didn't they put state money into Xanadu?

Lautenberg:  No. (Inaudible) We're doing good and we're on a mic, so I, uh -- do not feel free to express yourself.  Our Governor is not here, I take it.

Schumer: No.

[The funding is, strictly speaking, Tax Increment Financing,  or TIF meaning sales tax revenue goes straight to finance the project. So it's accurate to say its not state funding -- on the other hand, sales tax would ordinarily go to funding all of a state's needs, just not necessarily building a private mall.]

Lautenberg: He was not invited. (Inaudible) That's why I shut the microphone down.

Lautenberg: [To LaHood, a former Republican Congress member from Peoria] You -- you're the best thing that happened. First of all -- when they said it was going to be a Republican taking this job, I thought we had a Democrat who later on thought he was a Republican.

Schumer: No, he gets along with everybody. You know who pushed for him? Rahm Emanuel.

LaHood: He did. Are we ready?

[Schumer was also recently caught chatting with aides before a conference call -- the New York Times story on that is here.]

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Transportation Nation

Congress Could Get First FAA Bill in Years

Sunday, April 03, 2011

(Washington, DC -- Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) The House has passed a four-year Federal Aviation Administration authorization bill 223 to 196, setting up talks with the Senate that could lead to the first aviation policy renewal in years.

But those talks could get complicated by perennial political issues, as Republicans strive to weaken recruitment in some sectors of the aviation industry. There's even a veto threat coming from the White House.

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Congress hasn't passed a reauthorization for FAA since 2003. Instead it's racked up 17 temporary extensions as agreements eluded the House and Senate. Friday's House bill authorizes $60 billion in spending over four years for the FAA, airports, freight programs and even some new GPS-based air traffic control systems. That's a reduction back to 2008 spending levels at the FAA.

"It acknowledges that – especially in these tough economic times – the federal government must make spending cuts while at the same time providing necessary services and maintaining our current high safety levels,” Rep. Chip Cravaak, a pilot who chairs the aviation subcommittee, said in a statement. Cravaak, a Minnesota Republican, knocked off long-time incumbent and transportation committee chairman Rep. Jim Oberstar in 2010 mid-term election.

That take doesn't wash with a lot of Democrats.

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Transportation Nation

Christie Vs. Schumer on ARC - Round 4

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) First, U.S. Senator Schumer took the podium at a business breakfast this morning and slammed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for killing the $9 billion ARC rail tunnel under the Hudson River.

Easy for you to say, retorted a spokesman for Governor Christie, when New York will be on the hook for "zero, zilch, nothing" if the project goes over budget--perhaps by several billion dollars.

In response, a spokesman for Schumer accused Christie of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" by not negotiating with the Feds about relief from potential cost overruns, thereby costing area workers "tens of thousands of jobs in the near future and ease travel for millions of commuters." He added that by terminating the tunnel, Governor Christie had "flushed $6 billion in federal and Port Authority money down the tubes.”

Now Christie's spokesman, Michael Drewniak, has made yet another reply. "We are very comfortable with our decision on behalf of New Jersey and its taxpayers," he said.  "Senator Schumer embraces deficit spending, we do not."

Drewniak concluded by implying that Schumer's 30 years in Congress have made him something of a free-spender: "He’s been in Washington a long time."

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Transportation Nation

Schumer vs. Christie -- Round 3 in ARC Tunnel Bout

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

(New York, NY -- Jim O'Grady, WNYC) If words were wrestling holds, Senator Schumer just slipped Governor Christie's suplex and countered with a double-knee facebreaker. Or at least their spokesmen did.

This morning, Schumer told local leaders at a breakfast that Christie made a "terrible, terrible decision" in October by shutting down the ARC commuter tunnel under the Hudson River. In response, Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said it was all too easy for Schumer to call for the reinstatement of a "boondoggle" with projected cost overruns that would be borne by New Jersey but cost New York "zero, zilch, nothing." He added that the only way Schumer could have made his remarks was if he "didn't brush up on the topic before he spoke" or was merely scoring political points.

Now Schumer spokesman Mike Morey has answered back.

“The people who are out of work in New York and New Jersey are not interested in insults, they are interested in jobs," Morey said in an email to WNYC. "Thousands of people could be put to work today on a project that will create the infrastructure we need to create tens of thousands of jobs in the near future and ease travel for millions of commuters. You don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, and in this case thousands of jobs. Rather than come to the table and work with federal officials to deal with overruns, and preserve an asset everyone agrees is needed in the region, the Governor’s decision flushed $6 billion in federal and Port Authority money down the tubes.”

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Democrats Hold the U.S. Senate - and What That Means for Schumer

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Sen. Charles Schumer says, "the best is yet to come."



Billionaire Blowout

Monday, January 26, 2009

It was all billions all the time on Sunday night. WNYC's Brigid Bergin reports:



Mayor Bloomberg stood shoulder to shoulder with Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Charles Rangel in City Hall's Blue Room to speak seriously about a possible $3 billion in federal stimulus dollars that could come New York City's way, pending the approval of President Obama's stimulus package.

But a bit further uptown, and much more tongue-in-cheek, the satirical theatre troupe, 'Billionaires for Bush' held their final hurrah at Bar 13 near Union Square. It was one part cocktails, one part costumes, all complete with a monied soundtrack (think: Kanye West's Gold digger, The Flying Lizards' Money, Madonna's Material Girl, etc.).

The group started in 2000 and originally called itself, 'Billionaires for Bush or Gore,' out of protest for the way money influenced both political parties.

But following the election, the group solidified its name and began growing it's base of 'billionaires' with pseudonyms like Robin Eublind, Ivy League-Legacy and Fillmore Barrels.

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