Schumer touts new $33 million Great Lakes Commission for infrastructure, economic development

Posted 3 January 2023 at 12:19 pm

Press Release, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today revealed that the end-of-year spending package for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 creates a new regional economic development commission for the Great Lakes – set to pump millions in new federal grants to help promote economic development, strengthen infrastructure, protect the environment, and create good-paying jobs in communities across Upstate New York.

Schumer said the new Great Lakes Authority (GLA) will include $33 million through FY 2023 for grants to states and local governments, tribes, and public and nonprofit organizations for economic development and infrastructure projects, such as roads, high-speed broadband, and renewable energy, for communities across the Great Lakes region, including in Upstate NY.

The senator said that this new economic development program will help breathe new life into Western New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and North Country communities that make up the broader Great Lakes and Great Lakes System area and support the economic growth of the region for years to come. The Great Lakes and Great Lakes System region includes Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Allegany, Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Wyoming, Jefferson, Orleans, Oswego, Wayne, Monroe, Cayuga, Lewis, Herkimer, Hamilton, Oneida, Seneca, Onondaga, Tompkins, Schuyler, Yates, Ontario, Madison, Cortland, Chemung, Steuben, Livingston, St. Lawrence, Franklin, Essex, and Clinton counties, all areas of Upstate New York that will now be eligible for assistance from the newly created Authority.

“Investing in the Upstate communities of the Great Lakes is investing in the future of America, and I am proud to have helped create this new Great Lakes Authority so that new jobs can flow across the region,” Schumer said.

Schumer said the GLA will function similarly to already successful federal commissions like the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) which have both helped pump tens of millions of federal dollars into economic and community development projects across Upstate New York.

The GLA will cover areas in the watershed of the Great Lakes and the Great Lakes System – the same areas covered by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative which include New York State, in addition to parts of Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin within the Great Lakes watershed.

The GLA will be the first federal entity of its kind dedicated to addressing economic development challenges faced by the broader Great Lakes region.

“Our region’s unique position along the Great Lakes holds significant potential and economic opportunity,” said Congressman Joe Morelle, D-Irondequoit. “By passing the Great Lakes Authority Act, we’re taking steps to strengthen our resiliency and ensure we have the resources necessary to flourish and prosper.”