$120M to be released for Upstate

May 06, 2009

The state will soon release $120 million in unused development funds targeted for Upstate, the head of the state’s economic agency said.

Marisa Lago, president and CEO of Empire State Development Corp., said more details will announced as well as criteria for receiving the funding “within a few weeks.” She was not more specific than that.

The funding was included in the state’s 2008-09 budget, but it was never spent. Last week, the Democratic senators from upstate—including Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Albany — asked Gov. David Paterson to release the funding.

“We should be able to move this revenue quickly. The immediate release of the $120 million would mean more jobs, infrastructure upgrades and investment for the future,” Sen. William Stachowski, D-Buffalo, said in a statement.

“Our goal is to be able to give businesses what they need to succeed: the ability to reinvest in New York and to relocate here from other states,” Stachowski added.

Stachowski is one of five upstate Democratic senators. The other 27 Democrats in the state Senate represent downstate districts.

Upstate municipalities can apply for the funding for two purposes:

• spurring private-sector construction or infrastructure developments, and the creation of business parks;

• funding “signature” or “revitalizing” real estate projects in downtowns or business districts.

“With the economy, projects that were once feasible in the private sector may no longer be,” Lago told a state Senate committee. “We should be able to fill the gap on many projects that haven’t gotten over the finish line.”