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Schumer aims to restore federal funding

WASHINGTON – Sen. Charles E. Schumer is trying to pry loose $4 million in federal funding for Erie County that’s been stuck in a bureaucratic battle for a decade.

In a letter to top officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, Schumer said the two agencies should resolve their differences so Erie County can use the funding on projects such as the redevelopment of the former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna.

“A mindless bureaucratic tug-of-war between federal agencies is preventing Erie County from using these frozen federal funds to energize potential job-creating development projects like redeveloping the dormant Bethlehem Steel site,” said Schumer, D-N.Y. “That is why I am strongly urging EDA and HUD to get over it and resolve their differences ASAP – so we can create jobs and revitalize Western New York.”

The county combined funding from both agencies in a revolving loan fund, and as a result, both agencies imposed rules on the money’s use that together are so cumbersome that the funds can’t be used, Schumer explained.