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For Immediate Release:
October 28, 2013
Contact: 518-486-9846
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Grants will facilitate installation of high-speed telecommunications fiber optic lines and construction of rail lines for aluminum and
grain exporting capacity in Upstate New York

The New York Department of State today announced $292,000 in federal Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) grant awards to two critical infrastructure projects in upstate New York. The completed projects promise job growth and business expansion by increasing telecommunications capacity and accommodating the needs of a growing export industry. 

“A twenty-first century communications infrastructure is a prerequisite to attract growing businesses, as is making smart investments to support our growing intermodal platforms,” said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales. “These NBRC grants bolster the economic vitality of region, and complement Governor Cuomo’s regional approach to economic development.”

The Department of State (DOS) worked with the Federal NBRC to solicit project applications for funding and received fifteen applications for projects spanning the areas of the environment, telecommunications, transportation, workforce development and health care.

DOS evaluated the projects based on their potential economic impact, relationship to regional needs, level of coordination with existing plans, and consistency with the priorities of the NBRC program. Two New York applicants were selected by the federal commission to receive NBRC grants: 

Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, St. Lawrence County

The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority was awarded $100,000 to fund the installation of high-speed telecommunications fiber optic lines in the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority's Commerce Park.  These fiber optic lines, which will be installed in cooperation with the Development Authority of the North Country, will provide critical infrastructure to 28 businesses that employ over 500 residents throughout St. Lawrence County.  The completed project is expected to attract several new industries that rely on modern telecommunications infrastructure to conduct daily operations. The project is expected to help create 100 new jobs.   

“This award provides critical communication infrastructure for the industrial park,” said Wade A. Davis, Executive Director of the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority. “It promotes business initiatives consistent with Regional Council and Federal infrastructure goals.  We’re very grateful to the NBRC and our elected officials who recognize and support this business-critical communication need.”

“The Development Authority of the North Country is pleased to be working with the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority (OBPA) in implementing this NBRC Grant,” said Dave Wolf, General Manager for Telecommunications for the Development Authority of the North Country. “Pre-positioning the OBPA Business Parks with open access broadband fiber will help the OBPA attract and retain businesses in this important industrial development area and should encourage investment and job creation in St. Lawrence County.”

Port of Oswego Authority, Oswego County

The Port of Oswego Authority was awarded $192,000 to construct a rail spur and additional rail car storage on the only intermodal deep-water port in New York State, Lake Ontario. The rail spur will directly accommodate the increased rail/aluminum shipment capacity brought by a $200 million expansion and the addition of 100 jobs at the Novelis Aluminum Plant in Scriba, NY.  This project will also help meet the exporting demands from the resurgence of grain production in Central New York.  Since 2008 the Port has seen a 49.9% increase in rail traffic, with 1,056 rail cars coming through in 2012, and traffic expected to increase by an additional 19% this year to 1,256 cars.

“The funding will provide critically needed additional rail car storage to improve rail car movement in support of both local agricultural and aluminum shipments,” stated James Patka, interim Director of the Port of Oswego Authority. “We are very appreciative of the support of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Congressmen Dan Maffei and Richard Hanna and Governor Cuomo.”

The NBRC is a regional economic development partnership between federal, state, and local government. Established by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill, the Commission is composed of the governors of the New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, and a federal co-chair, who is appointed by the President of the United States.  Each year, Congress appropriates funds for Commission programs.