Building Ties with our Neighbor as a Way to Create Jobs Back Home
State Senator Patty Ritchie took her International Border Legislative Caucus initiative on the road Friday, and travelled to Brockville, Ontario, to discuss tourism, economic development and cultural opportunities with Canada’s leaders.
Senator Ritchie met with Canadian federal and provincial representatives who are members of the Caucus she co-founded in 2011 with Senator Joe Griffo, at the shorefront Bud’s on the Bay restaurant in downtown Brockville, for a far-ranging discussion that included topics like promoting locally produced wines and agricultural products, fishing and outdoor opportunities, and finding solutions to extended wait times at border check points.
In addition to Senator Ritchie, participants at the meeting included Canadian Senator Robert Runciman, who is the Canadian co-chair of the Caucus; Gordon Brown, a member of Canada’s Parliament, from Brockville, Steve Clark, a member of Ontario’s Provincial Parliament, representing Leeds-Grenville, Clayton Supervisor Justin Taylor, Ogdensburg City Manager John Pinkerton and St. Lawrence County Legislator Joseph Lightfoot.
$960,000 Project Includes Removing Abandoned Railroad Bridge, Maintaining Snowmobile Trail
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has obtained $960,000 in funding for a key project that will create jobs in Oswego County and support the region’s outdoor recreation industry.
The project is slated to include the removal of an abandoned New York Central Railroad bridge on Rt. 13 and maintenance of the snowmobile trail in the town of Williamstown.
“Putting people back to work by investing in our roads and transportation system is critical to our long term economic development efforts to revive Central New York’s economy,” said Senator Ritchie. “By moving these long-delayed projects onto the fast track our region can improve safety and help improve our important transportation corridors.”
“A recent economic study by researchers at SUNY Potsdam showed the snowmobiling industry contributes about $700 million to our state’s economy,” Senator Ritchie said. “By maintaining our extensive trail system we keep Oswego County as a world class tourism destination that means jobs and economic growth to our stores, restaurants and hotels.”
Measures Would Spotlight Black Lake, Lisbon and Winthrop Wineries
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she has introduced legislation to establish a St. Lawrence County Wine Trail in an effort to help put local wineries and vineyards on the map, boost local businesses and create jobs in the North Country.
“Over the past 27 years, more than 250 new wineries have opened across New York State—that includes many in the North Country. Along with those new businesses come new opportunities to attract tourists to our region,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Patty Ritchie.
“This legislation will literally put our local wineries on the map, creating a county-wide tourist destination that can eventually be linked to the Thousand Islands Wine Trail in Jefferson County. Moreover, the measure will help to spotlight these new wineries, boosting their businesses and also will provide for new business and employment opportunities in the North Country.”
There are currently 16 wine trails across New York, from the eastern end of Long Island to the Niagara escarpment, and including Jefferson County’s wine trail. The St. Lawrence County Wine Trail would be the state’s 17th; a reflection of the industry’s growth and statewide presence.
Under the proposed legislation (S.6321), the St. Lawrence County Wine Trail would begin near Black Lake’s Bella Brooke Winery in Morristown, extending to Lisbon’s River Myst Winery and then to High Peaks Winery in Winthrop. The trail is designed also to attract visitors to St. Lawrence Brewing’s microbrewery in Canton, providing the four establishments additional opportunities to collaborate and market themselves.
Call on Governor to Join in Supporting Vehicles Popular with Outdoorsmen
State Senator Patty Ritchie is leading a bipartisan group of more than a dozen state lawmakers in calling on Governor Cuomo to join in supporting the use of Side-by-Side recreational vehicles, or “UTVs.”
The group of lawmakers have written to the Governor urging him to amend his state budget proposal to allow UTVs, which are increasingly popular among outdoorsmen—particularly elderly couples and families. New York is losing out on tens of thousands of dollars in state revenue through registration fees, and taxes from retail sales of UTVs, as well as countless tourism-related jobs by prohibiting UTVs which, because they are slightly larger than standard four-wheelers, can exceed outdated weight limits in current law.
The letter is signed by Senator Ritchie (R-Heuvelton), Senator Joe Griffo (R-Oneida County) and Assemblyman Bill Magee (D-Madison County), who are sponsors of legislation to allow UTV use. Both of those bills have passed the Senate in prior years.
The letter also is signed by Senator Bill Larkin (R-Orange County), George Maziarz (R-Niagara County), Michael Ranzenhofer (R-Erie County) and Jim Seward (R-Otsego County); as well as Assembly Members Will Barclay (R-Pulaski), Ken Blankenbush (R-Black River), Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica), Clifford Crouch (R-Chenango County), Aileen Gunther (D-Orange County), Steve Hawley (R-Genesee County) and Claudia Tenney (R-Oneida County).
“UTVs are increasingly popular with senior riders, couples and family members who may want to bring a child with them while enjoying our great outdoors,” the letter says. “Every year, New York State loses sales tax and motor vehicle registrations because of our outmoded definition of all-terrain vehicles in Transportation Law.”
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced that for the first time, her proposal to allow for the registration of increasingly popular Utility Task Vehicles—commonly known as UTVs—has been included in the Senate’s budget proposal.
The measure, which has passed the Senate three times, would authorize the state Department of Motor Vehicles to allow the registration of larger recreational vehicles and in turn, would allow New York State to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost non-tax revenue, boost tourism and revitalize the economy.
Plan Would Put Local Wineries and Vineyards on the Map, Boost Local Business, Create Jobs
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced the recently approved Senate budget proposal includes a measure to establish a St. Lawrence County Wine Trail; a plan that would help put local vineyards and winemakers on the map, attract more tourists to the area and boost local business, create jobs in the region.
“The North Country has a perfect opportunity to capitalize on the fast-growing wine and grape industries by creating a St. Lawrence Wine Trail that links our area’s vineyards and winemakers,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Patty Ritchie.
“The inclusion of the St. Lawrence Wine Trail in the Senate’s spending plan represents a major step for this legislation. I’m looking forward to working to make sure the proposal—which would create new business, employment and tourism opportunities—is included in the final enacted budget.”
New York is the ONLY state that currently bans registration of UTV's, which are increasingly popular for families and seniors, and allowing UTVs would translate into increased tourism and sales tax and other revenue to state and local governments.
I'm getting ready to ride, joining fellow outdoor enthusiasts at the weekend's ATV ride in South Colton (St. Lawrence County). I told riders that 3,000 people have already signed my online petition to allow UTVs in New York -- we are the only state that bans their use.