Cuomo announces economic development funds

Derrick Ek
Andrew Cuomo

Local economic efforts got a boost Thursday, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing funding for rail development, employee training, and well and septic systems for low-income homes in the Bath area.

The Steuben County IDA received the biggest share of state dollars, with  $727,000 to be used to restore a 2.2-mile railroad line.

The rail is expected to bring railroad service to a 97-acre future industrial park off State Route 54 in Bath, across from the  Philips Lighting plant.

The rail service could attract shale gas-related companies and other businesses to the industrial park, said IDA director Jamie Johnson.

“We have some prospects, but nothing formalized,” Johnson said. “They tell us, ‘Once you get the rail operational, give us a call.’ So this puts us in a situation now where we have an active rail line.”

Philips Lighting received $10,000 for employee training, and $198,000 was set aside for water wells and septic tanks 10 Steuben County properties with low-income occupants.

The Southern Tier’s total take of $49.4 million was the lowest tally among the 10 regional councils formed by Cuomo this summer to compete for the funding.

However, the area was expected to officially receive roughly $110 million to rebuild flood-damaged industries and flood relief in a second round of state funds  announced by Cuomo Friday.

“If you add those numbers up, we got more than anybody,” said Tom Tranter, president of Corning Enterprises.

Earlier this year, Cuomo revamped and streamlined how economic development money from Albany is distributed.

Each region formed a council that included business, education and government leaders. Cuomo’s idea was to give local leaders more of a say in the state funding process.

In addition to the specific awards, another $11 million in “strategic plan” money will be distributed by the Southern Tier’s regional council and includes $4.8 million for downtown revitalization projects.

Other projects awarded state funds Thursday include:

Several million dollars for various housing rehab projects across Steuben, Chemung and Schuyler counties.

$500,000 for the City of Hornell to rehab 10 downtown buildings for mixed commercial-residential use.

$212,000 for the Village of Addison to rehab eight commercial and eight residential units and do streetscaping in the Main Street business district.n $87,000 for flood prevention efforts in Steuben, Chemung and Schuyler.

$21,000 for Corning Community College’s gas drilling employment training program.