AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — Gov. Kathy Hochul came to the University at Buffalo’s north campus today to speak on proposals for investments in New York.
In attendance for the Governor’s announcement were a number of local leaders, including the mayors of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Dunkirk and Jamestown, among others.
After briefly speaking of the weather to come, Hochul spoke of her memories growing up in western New York, seeing jobs fade away from the region.
The Governor, noting recent job additions, said “We are experiencing a renaissance.”
This was followed by the announcement that the 2024 New York State budget proposal includes $100 million to be invested in the school for new, renovated research facilities.
In addition to that, Hochul says another $24 million would go toward maintenance projects at the school.
The Governor went on to speak about housing in New York, saying the state “has failed to deliver enough housing at all levels for this growth.”
As a solution, the Governor suggested taking abandoned or underutilized properties like the Boulevard Mall and transforming them into places to live.
“We have to start building, we have to start innovating,” Hochul said.
Gov. Hochul also discussed the Christmas Blizzard that crushed the City of Buffalo and surrounding suburbs. The governor is looking to allocate $10 million to the City of Buffalo to create a public works and storm recovery building. She says it is the state’s job to make sure local municipalities have the funding they need to respond to major weather events.
“10 million dollars today for the city of buffalo having joint public works storm recovery center that they can respond quickly with the latest equipment,” Hochul said. “They’re working very closely with us to make sure that they respond to their needs. Our role is to make sure that we can continue to give them state money to invest in the money to make sure they can do their job.”
Zero emission energy is also a major policy initiative for Gov. Hochul. She said after her budget discussion the state is in a transition period to move from old energy sources to alternative and renewable energy. This could make for higher up front costs to rate payers, but increased long term savings.
“I want people to know that we are aggressively going into developing the alternative forms of energy, but nothing’s gonna happen until we’re ready to make that transition and ultimately, people’s bills will be lower. The cost of using renewables is much lower than fossil-fuel generated power, but right now, the transition is what’s complicated,” Hochul said.
Earlier this year, the governor created long term energy goals, including eliminating sales of new fossil fuel heating equipment by 2030 and requiring new construction to be zero emission by 2025 for small buildings and 2028 for large buildings.
Other proposals the Governor spoke of during the afternoon include the following:
- $1 billion for mental health care
- $337 million to reduce and prevent gun violence
- $41 million for addiction services in WNY
- $34.5 billion for education ($2.9B for WNY school districts)
- $10 million for storm recovery and planning in Buffalo
- $8 million for Erie Community College
- $2.2 million for Niagara County Community College
Gov. Hochul addressed the delay in the Bills Stadium after her address. She said the project is moving forward as planned and she expects the deal to be finalized soon.
“The stadium board is meeting again in March. I expect that to be the last meeting necessary then it goes to the legislature so we are literally into the crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s of this agreement. It is moving full steam ahead and I expect the ground breaking to be on schedule later this year,” Hochul said.
As reported in July 2022, a Memorandum of Understanding agreed to by the team, State, and County in March says stadium construction is expected to start no later than April 1, 2023. Construction is expected to take 34 months. The Bills expect it will open for the 2026 season.
MORE | Take a look at more of Hochul’s budget proposals here
- Satellite images show 5,000-mile seaweed belt creeping closer to US
- Teen overdose deaths have doubled in three years. Blame fentanyl.
- Troy’s 9th annual Dustin Mele memorial concert to raise awareness for suicide prevention
- Search on for 4 people missing in deadly chocolate factory explosion
- Top 10 cities and states with the fastest-growing EV charger infrastructure
Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.