Cuomo Visits, Calls Southern Tier an Inspiration

By Matt Porter

December 5, 2012 Updated Dec 6, 2012 at 10:21 AM EST

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Southern Tier has Governor Andrew Cuomo's stamp of approval after his tour of new projects paid for by the state.

The projects are funded through the governor's new regional economic development councils made up of local officials, academics, and business leaders.

In the first year, the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council (STREDC) received $49.4 million for 55 projects. Since the approvals, 98 percent of those projects are underway.

Cuomo toured BAE Systems in Endicott with members of the council.

The governor noted the area's resiliency after last year's flood.

"I think it's an inspiration, I think it's an inspiration for downstate New York which is struggling with similar issues that we can make it better than it was," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), "And that's exactly what happened here."

Cuomo says the Southern Tier is the model of how a community can come back from disaster. And he urged the STREDC to keep up its work.

"You have some of the most beautiful land in this country. You have great academic universities, you have great healthcare universities, you have advanced manufacturing, you have great rural community," he said, “You have every asset that you could possibly have."

BAE received $3 million to develop its hybrid engine technologies.

The governor's tour even stepped aboard a Broome County bus powered by new energy efficient engines.

BAE thanked the governor and the council for their efforts to keep their plant in the region.

"To be able to come back on our own facility and rebuild everything better than before, we're eager to the future and moving forward," said Robert Lamanna a director at BAE Systems.

Members of the STREDC including co-char and BU President Harvey Stenger, said the Southern Tier's unique blend of agriculture, industry, and research facilities give the area tremendous potential.

"I think if we can blend good programs and good projects in rural and agriculture, as well as in tourism, and in manufacturing," Stenger said, "And then use the university as a partner in this process. We have a strategic advantage."

The STREDC reported more than 2,000 jobs have been kept or created through the first year's investments.

It's now proposing the state invest another 38 million for 24 new priority projects next year.

Those projects are expected to create another 3,300 jobs and retain hundreds more.

The result could be more than 4,000 jobs that will live here Southern Tier.

Fracking activists from both sides were also there to greet the Governor during his tour.

Cuomo said he understands there is a lot of emotion on the issue, but he wants to make sure that the decision made is made on facts, not emotion.