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Central NY wins $500 million from Cuomo's economic competition

Central New York's Regional Economic Development Council with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Central New York will receive $500 million over the next five years as one of the big winners of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The central New York proposal includes projects affecting a wide range of industries.

Officials across central New York agreed that this award has the potential to transform the local economy. The region will make investments in manufacturing with an inland transportation hub and agriculture with year-round farming. The largest investment involves developing a traffic management system for unmanned aerial systems, or drones, so they can fly safely in commercial airspace.

Sen. John DeFrancisco of Syracuse said the region has been positioning itself to be a leader in that industry for some time.

“When you have Syracuse, New York, and central New York, being at the forefront of a new technology that is going to grow exponentially, I think that is going to be the most significant of the bunch,” DeFrancisco said.

DeFrancisco, who was originally against what he called the "Hunger Games" approach on distributing economic development money said he was not surprised by the regions that won.

Central New York’s proposal projects that unmanned aerial systems will revolutionize the aviation industry in the next ten years. Part of the $500 million will also be invested in consolidating and modernizing local government, fighting poverty and a veterans research center at Syracuse University.    

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.