NYPA Trustees’ Action Follows Governor Paterson’s Announcement of Additional Support of Waterfront Redevelopment

Michael Saltzman
(914) 390-8181

December 15, 2009


MELVILLE—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees Tuesday approved measures to enhance and expedite funding for the revitalization of the Buffalo waterfront, following an announcement by Governor David A. Paterson on Saturday of New York State’s ambitious plans for bolstering this effort.

“The renewal of the Buffalo waterfront will provide new economic and recreational opportunities and reclaim the city’s harbor areas for residents and visitors alike,” Governor David A. Paterson said. “The Power Authority’s stepped-up funding will be instrumental in accelerating this ongoing effort and reflects New York State’s unwavering commitment to revitalize the historic waterfront section of the city. I want to thank Power Authority President Richard Kessel and the NYPA board for strengthening the Authority’s financial commitment to this crucial project and helping us to make it a reality.”

“Today’s action by the Power Authority trustees follows through on the Governor’s announcement of increased support of the redevelopment efforts at Buffalo’s inner and outer harbors,” Kessel said.  “We’re excited about our role in helping to make this undertaking possible, recognizing the tremendous importance of waterfront development to the city’s future, in creating jobs, promoting tourism and improving the overall quality of life for residents. This endeavor crystallizes public and private partnership at its best, and we’re delighted to be contributing to its success under the Governor’s leadership.”

On Saturday, Governor Paterson was joined by Congressman Brian Higgins, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Kessel, NYPA Chairman Michael J. Townsend and other city and state officials in announcing financial support for the Canal Side Project of the Buffalo waterfront redevelopment.   (http://www.state.ny.us/governor/press/press_12120901_print.html).  The Power Authority will make annual payments of $8.4 million over 20 years to meet funding requirements of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. (ECHDC), which is spearheading the redevelopment.

“We recognize that waterfront redevelopment is crucial to Buffalo’s future and are glad to be able to advance this effort through additional and expedited funding,” said Chairman Townsend.  “Western New York holds an important distinction for the Power Authority as the home of our Niagara Power Project, the single largest source of electricity in New York State. Under Governor Paterson’s leadership, the Power Authority trustees and NYPA President Richard Kessel are working diligently to enhance the region’s economy, environment and recreational opportunities.  The trustees’ action today is the latest example of this stepped-up approach.”

The NYPA trustees approved an Industrial Incentive Award to ECHDC for $3.7 million a year for 20 years, from 2010 to 2029.  They also authorized modification of the Authority’s payment schedule under the Niagara Relicensing Settlement Agreement, to accelerate payments in support of harbor development to $4.7 million a year over the same period.  The original agreement provided for payments of $3.5 million per year for 50 years, for which 48 annual payments would have remained.
The industrial incentive award authorized by the NYPA trustees must also be approved under state law by the New York State Economic Development Power Allocation Board, which is expected to consider soon the matter. Industrial Incentive Awards involve the use of net revenues from the sale of a block of Niagara hydropower called Expansion Power.

In September 2007, the Niagara project received a new 50-year federal operating license, following six settlement agreements with communities encompassing the boundaries of the project and with other key area stakeholders. This included an agreement with the City of Buffalo, Erie County and other local and state entities committing major funding for the Buffalo waterfront and other measures for enhancing the area’s economy and environment.

In approving additional financial support Tuesday to facilitate the completion of the Canal Side project, the Power Authority’s trustees cited the importance of the waterfront redevelopment to Buffalo and Western New York.

 “As a Western New Yorker, I took special delight in voting for the enhanced financial support by the Power Authority for the Buffalo waterfront redevelopment,” said D. Patrick Curley, a NYPA trustee and resident of Orchard Park in Erie County.  “The revitalization efforts are crucial to the transformation of the waterfront and to the city’s future, so we’re excited about the opportunity to make this a success.”

“Our increased financial support of the Buffalo waterfront is another dimension to the Power Authority’s efforts to use its resources from the Niagara Power Project to promote economic development in Western New York, while contributing to the region’s recreational opportunities and outdoor attractions,” said Elise M. Cusack of Eggertsville, also in Erie County.  With the new funding arrangement that we approved today for the Canal Side project, the Power Authority has added to the significant contributions that it makes to the region.”

“The enhanced and accelerated funding that we authorized today for Buffalo waterfront redevelopment underscores the Power Authority’s dedication under Governor Paterson to give back to the communities hosting its generating facilities,” said Judge Eugene L. Nicandri, another NYPA trustee. “The vitality of the Buffalo waterfront is part of the solution for the renewal of this venerable city, so the Power Authority is gratified to be able add to its financial support to help sustain and catalyze this effort.”

About NYPA:

■ The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. ■ NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives. ■ It is the nation's largest state public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ More than 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state. ■For more information, www.nypa.gov.

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