As New Yorkers continue to assess the personal and financial toll wrought by Hurricane Irene, Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua) today called on Governor Cuomo to redirect $50 million of the $200 million in state economic development funding toward helping local governments, businesses and farms that bore the brunt of the storm repair, rebuild and recover.
“Millions of New Yorkers weathered Hurricane Irene’s wrath with the storm’s economic impact to our state estimated at $1 billion. The storm impaired local governments, devastated businesses and damaged regional roadways, bridges and other critical infrastructure that are the lifeline for citizens, commerce and communities across New York,” Leader Kolb said.
“To help affected communities repair, rebuild and recover, we need to get funding out of the state’s administrative pipeline and flowing directly into impacted regions as quickly as possible. This is exactly what I asked Governor Cuomo to do by redirecting $50 million of the $200 million in state economic development funding currently targeted for the administration’s Regional Council Initiative. If ever there was a time to redirect a portion of state economic development funding to assist distressed communities, businesses and farms in getting back on their feet, now is that time,” Leader Kolb stated.
Leader Kolb’s letter to the Governor stated, “Ideally, the $50 million – currently targeted for the Regional Council Initiative – would be fast-tracked to aid affected localities, businesses and farms hardest hit by the storm. Utilizing $50 million from the $200 million already set aside for economic development aid would have minimal impact on the administration’s Regional Council Initiative, especially since so many areas of our state were adversely impacted by Hurricane Irene and will undoubtedly qualify for economic recovery funds. Frankly, given the storm’s size, severity and scope, such a reordering of priorities is necessary,” Leader Kolb wrote.
“A total of 21 counties throughout New York State have already been declared eligible for Public Assistance by FEMA. Hurricane Irene impacted a significant portion of our state, including the Capital Region, North Country, Hudson Valley, Long Island and New York City. All of these areas had local businesses, farms and infrastructure severely damaged or, in some cases, completely destroyed by the storm,” Leader Kolb stated.
“Providing targeted and timely financial assistance to localities, businesses and farms that were among the hardest hit by Hurricane Irene will accelerate recovery efforts by strengthening the economy and supporting private sector job creation, both of which happen to be priorities of the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative. My proposal is to bypass any bureaucracy and fast track this funding in light of the economic devastation Hurricane Irene caused to the Empire State. Doing so will assist storm-impacted communities, local businesses and farms already working to move forward after the storm,” Leader Kolb concluded.
Editor’s Note: Click here to view a copy of Leader Kolb’s letter to Governor Cuomo (along with Lieutenant Governor Duffy and fellow Legislative Leaders) urging the redirection of $50 million in state economic development funding to help communities, businesses and farms repair, rebuild and recover from Hurricane Irene.