Higgins Proposes NYPA Settlement for Erie, Buffalo to Fund Projects At Inner/Outer Harbor
Buffalo, NY – Citing the need for greater allocation of funds and the need for local control of where allocated funds go, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) today released a proposed settlement agreement between the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the City of Buffalo and Erie County that would provide more than $500 million over fifty years for waterfront development and redevelopment of brownfields and other waterfront lands.
Higgins offered his proposal in light of NYPA’s proposed settlement agreement to Buffalo and Erie County that offers $2 million per year for 50 years. The NYPA proposal amounts to a very small percentage of the total profit that NYPA earns from sales of Niagara hydropower from the Niagara Power Project in Niagara County, and worse yet, ultimate control over expenditure of funds under this proposed settlement would rest in state officials, and not local entities having expertise or knowledge of the region’s development needs.
Higgins’ alternative proposal would have NYPA allocate a total of $10 million in annual revenue for redevelopment projects along the water’s edge, including:
o $4 million per year for brownfield remediation and land acquisition to be used by municipalities along the waterfront. In this way, shovel ready sites can be made available for public access and commercial development.
o $6 million per year allocated to a locally-controlled Buffalo Waterfront Development Corporation whose expressed purpose is the enhancement and improvement of public access to Buffalo’s Outer and Inner Harbor waterfront areas, and whose primary objective is the design and construction of physical improvements to Buffalo’s waterfront areas to create private and public sector recreational and commercial development along the Lake Erie shoreline.
“In its current settlement proposal, NYPA offers Western New Yorkers very little in return for the massive profits it makes off the backs of our unique natural resource,” said Higgins, who in the past has been a steadfast advocate for more Niagara hydropower for Western New York businesses. “My proposal would bring NYPA hydropower dollars to Buffalo’s waterfront and adjacent brownfield and other lands, and would ensure that development decisions are made by local individuals committed to realistic projects that result in the design and construction of physical improvements along the Buffalo and Lake Erie shoreline,” Higgins added.