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Thursday, January 15, 2015

As the second prong of his "2015 Opportunity Agenda," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a $1.5 billion Upstate New York Economic Revitalization Competition to help continue to restore economic opportunity to regions across Upstate New York.

This competition will attempt to replicate the successful Buffalo Billion initiative, a program that focused on jumpstarting the Western New York economy, to other parts of the state. The proposed competition uses the Buffalo Billion’s proven model to deliver results and drive community revitalization, job growth, and population sustainability is seven regions, each competing for one of three $500 million upstate revitalization funds. Those regions are: Mid-Hudson, Capital Region, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, North Country, Southern Tier and Finger Lakes.

Projects exhibiting region-wide impact will be made a priority and should focus on strengthening critical infrastructure, revitalizing communities, bolstering workforce development, growing tourism, and improving quality of life. The competition will combine the expertise and structure of the Regional Economic Development Councils with successful elements of Western New York’s Buffalo Billion to develop regional investment plans that identify existing assets, highlight needs and recommend areas of opportunity.

The governor also announced the appointment of Richard Tobe, currently Deputy Erie County Executive, to serve as Director of Upstate Revitalization and lead the efforts of the competition. Tobe’s experience includes having served as Commissioner of the Buffalo Department of Economic Development Permit and Inspection Services and as Program Vice President for the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. Mr. Tobe will be transitioning out of his current position in order to assume this new role.

Between now and April, regions will plan and engage parties interested in participating in the competition, which will formally launch on April 15th. Submissions will be due July 1st and winners will be announced in the fall.

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