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Cuomo’s 29th proposal for 2020: Invest $300M into the Erie Canal and surrounding communities

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a $300 million plan to ‘reimagine’ the Erie Canal throughout Upstate New York.

It’s the 29th proposal of his State of the State Agenda for 2020. His office says the plan will create recreational activities on the Canal to boost tourism, mitigating flooding, enhancing irrigation and recreational fishing and restoring wetlands.

The Governor is recommending the New York Power Authority Board, which now oversees the Canal Corporation as a subsidiary, approve the $300 million investment over the next five years at the board’s January meeting.

“When the Erie Canal was created in the 19th century it set the state and the nation on a path to prosperity, and this year we will repurpose the canal to fit our state’s 21st century needs,” Governor Cuomo said. “This bold and visionary plan to transform this historic waterway will build on the success of the Empire State Trail, grow tourism across Upstate New York, improve resilience of today’s Canal communities and ensure the economic sustainability of the waterway into the future.”

“As an upstate New Yorker who lives near the Erie Canal and is a frequent visitor to canal communities, I know how this plan to reimagine the canal can unlock even more potential to make it a major tourism magnet,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “The canals have played a crucial role in New York’s history and growth, and with the implementation of these new exciting projects, the canals will remain a vital force and make a positive contribution to the economic well-being and quality of life in the 225 communities they travel through.”

A first phase of funding will start this year that will have two parts: a $100 million economic development fund to invest in communities along the Canal and a separate $65 million investment in solutions that will help prevent ice jams and related flooding in the Schenectady area.

The remaining $135 million of the plan’s funding will subsequently be allocated to research recommended by the Reimagine Task Force, as well as to solutions related to flood mitigation, invasive species prevention and ecosystem restoration.


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