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Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board recommends $1.7 million in funding for WNY projects

by jmaloni

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Tue, Apr 29th 2014 04:40 pm

Projects would help support the creation of nearly 130 jobs, as well as business development initiatives

The Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board announced Monday it recommended $1,720,000 in funding to three Western New York enterprises: We Care Transportation Services, Nexus Natural Gas LLC and Innomotive Solutions Group LLC.

In total, the latest projects recommended for funding awards are expected to create 128 jobs and result in investments by project applicants of $23.25 million.

Two of the projects recommended are related to energy. The WNYPPAB Act stipulates 15 percent of funds need to be dedicated to energy projects. The recommendations are expected to be considered by the New York Power Authority board of trustees at its May 20 board meeting.

The WNYPPAB also announced NYPA recently made its quarterly contribution to the Western New York Economic Development Fund. The $8.8 million contribution, a larger deposit than has typically been made, is from the net earnings from the sale of unutilized hydropower from NYPA's Niagara Power Project in Lewiston. The contribution will enable the WNYPPAB to solicit additional eligible projects.

"The projects recommended by the Power Proceeds Board today will have a significant impact on the Western New York economy, driving economic growth for the future and creating much-needed jobs," said Allocation Board Chairman Anthony J. Colucci III. "I am also pleased to learn that an additional $8.8 million has been added to the fund by NYPA so that we can continue our work of supporting business growth that leads to a strong, sustainable economy."

The latest recommendations for proceeds awards stem from legislation signed into law in 2012 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (known as the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Act). The legislation authorizes "net earnings" from the sale of unused hydropower from NYPA's Niagara project to be deposited into the Western New York Economic Development Fund to support economic development in Western New York.

The fund has accrued approximately $36 million to date. Approximately $15 million has been approved for awards by the NYPA trustees on the basis of earlier recommendations by the proceeds allocation board.

The latest projects recommended by the include:

PLS III LCC d/b/a We Care Transportation Services

Recommended award amount: $1,000,000

We Care Transportation Services, one of the largest providers of transportation to the physically handicapped, the elderly and the ailing in Western New York, will switch to a compressed natural gas fleet of vehicles, retrofit its maintenance garage to accommodate those vehicles, and build a CNG filling station.

CNG is a cleaner-burning and less expensive fuel than both gasoline and diesel.

We Care offers a much-needed service to the Western New York community and is one of the largest employers of residents in the most distressed area of the City of Buffalo.

This $14.97 million project will create 100 new jobs.

Nexus Natural Gas LLC

Recommended award amount: $570,000

Nexus Natural Gas LLC, an entity formed by seven companies in the Town of Tonawanda that share the common goal of transitioning into cleaner alternative fuels, will build a compressed natural gas fueling station for the exclusive use of this partnership. The companies are beginning the conversion of their vehicles to run on CNG.

The $2.8 million project will decrease emissions and improve air quality in the Town of Tonawanda and Grand Island, as well as everywhere the vehicles travel in the state. It will also allow the companies to reduce their operating costs, expedite future growth and lead to job creation.

Innomotive Solutions Group LLC

Recommended award amount: $150,000

Innomotive Solutions Group LLC, a manufacturer and finisher of rollaway doors built specifically to meet the specifications of emergency vehicles, will purchase a building in Lancaster, which it will renovate and retrofit to accommodate the needs of the company. Innomotive will hire and train 28 new employees to meet its current U.S. market demand.

With an incentive from the Western New York Economic Development fund for this $5.5 million venture, this project marks the company's first U.S.-based facility.

The Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board reviewed these and other applications for fund proceeds in accordance with requirements of the act (for example, eligible projects must be located within a 30-mile radius of NYPA's Niagara Power Project). The allocation board also considers the extent to which an award would be consistent with the strategies and priorities of the area New York regional economic development councils.

Contracts with awardees will include provisions for periodic audits to ensure the funds are utilized for agreed-upon purposes. Some projects are subject to legal requirements that must be satisfied before an award of fund proceeds can be made.

The allocation board is comprised of the following members, appointed by Cuomo: Chairman Colucci, managing attorney of the law firm of Colucci & Gallaher in Buffalo; Deanna Alterio Brennan, president of the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce; Brenda Williams McDuffie, president of the Buffalo Urban League; Dennis W. Elsenbeck, regional executive, National Grid Western Division; and Henry F. Wojtaszek, general counsel at Off-Track Betting of Western New York.

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