The Buffalo Niagara Partnership's 2010 regional agenda offers a vast menu of targeted projects that, if supported in Albany or Washington, or both, could be transformational for the region.
The economic development-driven agenda, released late Monday, includes continued support for the University at Buffalo's 2020 master plan to logistics funding for the proposed Niagara Falls international railway station to securing public dollars for the oft-discussed Olcott Harbor breakwall, which if constructed could boost that hamlet's position as a sport fishing capital.
"Working together has yielded great results in the past," noted Jon Dandes, Buffalo Niagara Partnership chairman. "This agenda is our advocacy road map for the coming year."
The entire agenda was crafted through collaborative discussions between both Erie and Niagara county public- and private-sector leaders. This marks the ninth year that the Buffalo Niagara Partnership has created a regional agenda for economic development initiatives.
"It doesn't happen too often, to see the public and private sector work together," said Erie County Executive Chris Collins."The days of us considering Niagara County a competitor are gone forever."
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown agrees.
A former New York state senator, whose district included portions of both Erie and Niagara counties, Brown said having one focused agenda, with tangible and pinpointed projects makes a huge difference to lawmakers.
"It is critically important to speak with one voice," Brown said. "When you hear different messages from different places, it becomes hard to move something forward."
For the third consecutive year, the regional agenda includes state legislative support for new policies and practices that would make it easier for UB to advance its aggressive expansion plans in both Amherst and Buffalo, as well as downtown Buffalo.
"We all realize there are no economic development silver bullets," said Andrew Rudnick, Buffalo Niagara Partnership president and chief executive officer. "But, UB 2020 may be that single economic opportunity in our future."