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Capital Region

Capital Region gets $50.3 million for regional projects

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Albany/HV: Capital Region gets $50.3 million for regional projects
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The Regional Economic Development awards were announced in Albany on Wednesday. Councils from across the state worked to develop strategic plans to win state funding. Solomon Syed has more.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Christmas came a little early this year for the 10 regional economic development councils, some more than others.

"Great day for Central New York, all told about $93, $94 million," said Rob Simpson, Central New York Council co-chair.

Central New York was one of the big winners for the second year in a row, joined by the Finger Lakes, Mid-Hudson, Southern Tier and North Country regions, each collecting between $90 to $96 million.

"Take advantage of a strong rural, agricultural program, as well as tourism, adding in advanced manufacturing," said Southern Tier Council co-chair Harvey Stenger.

The Capital Region, once again, found fewer presents under its public-private Christmas tree, falling within the $50 to$ 60 million range, along with New York City, Long Island, Western New York and the Mohawk Valley.

"We think we have the best plan!" said Capital Region Council co-chair Shirley Ann Jackson.

The so-called winners and losers in this second round of funding were said to be picked on the success of projects started with last year's money. But with areas like the Capital Region already thriving, some wonder if the awards are based more on need than merit.

Jackson said, "Any region isn't going to say they couldn't use the money, but clearly, the Capital Region has unique assets."

"In a way, it was nice to win a second time to show this was not a fluke, that we are serious about economic development," said North Country Council co-chair Anthony Collins.

In total, the governor gave out $738 million, calling the state the biggest winner for trying to change the way it does business to bring in more business.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "That's the locomotive that drives the train and if we are doing that, then we can figure out everything else."

There's a total of 725 of these regional development projects currently underway. So if you do the math, that means each project receives about an average of $1 million.

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