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Andrew Cuomo speaks at first Lake Ontario REDI conference

pAt the start of a conference in Rochester on Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that the new Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative would receive up to $300 million in funding for communities along the lake and St. Lawrence River. Speaking at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center to a gathering of state and local officials, Gov. Cuomo outlined the new REDI program, which he announced late last month./pp“I don’t want to spend $100 million every time there’s an emergency,” Gov. Cuomo said.“I would rather invest more and build it back better, more resilient, more economic development.”/ppNew York state has been rolling out emergency resources along the lake and river as water levels have matched, and in some cases slightly exceeded, the record highs of 2017, when the state spent $100 million to repair damage to waterfront properties. Gov. Cuomo has repeatedly said that this is the “new normal” and that communities will have to build stronger infrastructure to deal with future flooding due to climate change./pp“We can’t do this every two years,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We don’t have the funding to redo everything every two years.”/ppGov. Cuomo said that the plan would involve working with local officials, putting pressure on the International Joint Commission,the body that regulates water levels on the Great Lakes, building resiliency and increasing economic potential and development. The funding would be used for building hard and soft infrastructure and include a 15 percent local match from communities./pp“This is all new, my friends, we haven’t been here before,” Gov. Cuomo said. “How do you put resiliency together with economic development?”/ppGov. Cuomo continues to blame the IJC for high water levels, although the commission said it kept outflows higher than average all last year and on Saturday announced it would be increasing outflows past the point of safety for shipping on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Shortly after that announcement, Gov. Cuomo sent out a letter threatening to sue the IJC for damages to New York’s waterfront./ppSpeaking in Rochester on Monday, Gov. Cuomo raised the possibility of suing again./pp“If that IJC doesn’t respond to us, we will sue the IJC, and they will know how serious we are,” Gov. Cuomo said Monday./ppLocal officials, including State Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Huevelton, Assemblyman Mark C. Walczyk, R-Watertown, County Legislative Chair Scott A. Gray, County Legislators Philip N. Reed and Patrick Jareo, Sackets Harbor Mayor Molly Reilly and town of Henderson Supervisor John Culkin, attended the event in Rochester, which included breakout group discussions after the governor’s speech./ppFor more information, residents can visit the new website at /p


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