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Stimulus Money Could Expand Port of Oswego

<p>The Port of Oswego is the oldest freshwater port in the nation.  It opened in 1799.</p>
The Port of Oswego is the oldest freshwater port in the nation. It opened in 1799.

The Port of Oswego could become home to the first biodiesel fueling stations on the Great Lakes, if a plan being advanced by US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand succeeds.

Gillibrand said she is urging the federal Transportation Department to spend $160 million of federal stimulus plan money to expand the Port of Oswego and add the biofuel stations.  The plan would link the port to Archer Daniels Midland’s grain processing plant in Montezuma, in Cayuga County.  The money would also expand port facilities in Montezuma to allow shipment of the biodiesel made there to the port.

“The addition of the facilities this grant will enable, and advantages that our partnership with Auburn BioDiesel Corp. will bring, will make our Port truly competitive with the Ports of Newark, Baltimore and New York – and we will have important advantages,” said Port of Oswego Executive Director Jonathan Daniels in a news release.

The Port of Oswego is the oldest freshwater port in the nation. It opened in 1799.

Tne money would provide for a substantial increase in space for storage and offloading at the Port of Oswego.  It would also create what Gillibrand calls a unique linkage between the Montezuma port, which would allow shipments along the state Barge Canal system and link to rail and highway shipping, and the Oswego port, where those shipments could be loaded onto container ships for international shipping.

The linkage of highway, rail, inland water and international water shipping would give Oswego a speed advantage that other international ports lack, Gillibrand said.  She called the idea a “win-win-win” because it would also give farmers new markets for their grains and create as many as 300 jobs.

US Transporation Secretary Ray LaHood, in a letter to Gillibrand, offered his support. “This proposal embodies all of the elements of regional economic development, multi-modal transportation improvement, permanent job creation, alternative energy development and good stewardship,” he said, noting that the $160 million investment could bring more than $500 million in return.