Congressman Bill Owens announced his support this week for a long-term reauthorization of the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC), which provides federal support for economically distressed communities in the Northeast. Without Congressional action, the NBRC's authorization will expire at the end of fiscal year 2013. Owens recently co-sponsored legislation (H.R. 922) to extend the authorization for the NBRC for an additional five years and called on Congress to enact the bill.
"The Northern Border Regional Commission supports New York communities, and it is important that we continue this momentum moving forward," Owens said. "Reauthorizing the Northern Border Regional Commission shows a real commitment to economic development in the region, and I urge my colleagues to act quickly before its authorization expires."
H.R. 922 would authorize $30 million annually for Northern Border Commission activities for fiscal years 2014 to 2018. Although NBRC has been authorized at the $30 million level since its creation in 2008, Congress has only appropriated between $1 million and $1.5 million annually. With these limited funds, NBRC has supported infrastructure projects in New York related to tourism and business development, including:
$123,500 to the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena to construct a rail spur on the existing CSX St. Lawrence Subdivision.
$158,120 to The Wild Center in Tupper Lake to help implement its Northern New York Maple project.
$250,000 to the Clayton Local Development Corporation to install water and wastewater systems for the proposed $35 million Frink Hotel.
$95,320 to the Lewis County Development Corporation to rehabilitate a railway spur that connects to the former Lyons Falls Pulp & Paper mill site, which the agency is attempting to redevelop as a business park.
Additional information on past NBRC support is available here. Counties within New York's 21st Congressional District eligible for funding under the NBRC include Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence. New York State is one of four states in the federally-defined Northern Border region, along with parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.