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Economic development council awarded $52.8 million

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Buffalo: Economic development council awarded $52.8 million
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After being awarded more than $100 million in 2011, Wednesday marked round two for development funding through Governor Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council Initiative. YNN's Meg Rossman has more on how the Western New York Economic Development Council fared, and what they plan to do with the money.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — According to state officials, Western New York is on the road to becoming a strong economic engine for their region, and an additional $52.8 million in funding awarded to the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council in Albany Wednesday is only meant to help pull that engine along.

"We're very pleased,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. “Things have been going along excellent with regards to economic development issues."

Last year, the council received $100.3 million through the governor's initiative. Wednesday's funding comes just weeks after Governor Cuomo heard the council's plans to spend the first $100 million of what's now known as the “Buffalo Billion” awarded in January.

"If you asked anyone in Western New York a year and a half ago, would we in Western New York be receiving $1.15 billion in that time, commitments to our regional economy, of course nobody would have imagined that," WNY Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Howard Zemsky said.

According to officials, this year’s projects include manufacturing, health care, tourism, energy and education.

"If we're creating jobs, bringing businesses here, if we're attracting people then that is the locomotive that pulls the train,” Cuomo said.

In fact, round two of Cuomo's competitive approach to jump start the state's economy is set to cover 58 total projects across the region, including priority projects at Del Monte Foods, the Darwin Martin House and neighborhood revitalization in the City of Niagara Falls.

"We can compete not only nationally, but globally and I think you saw a lot of those plans here today," Poloncarz said.

They're plans that earned the council a top performer spot last year, despite earning significantly less this time around.

"It would be hard to have any disappointment over what the commitments we've received from the state at all,” Zemsky said. “We're looking forward to continuing to implement the plan and compete again next year."

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