MALONE — Gov. David Paterson came to Malone Tuesday to announce that St. Lawrence Gas will get $2.5 million to extend its natural-gas pipeline through Franklin County.
The proposed 48-mile project would enter through Moira and follow a preferred path along an abandoned railway to the Village of Chateaugay, bringing potential energy savings to businesses along the route.
Paterson said the plan is to begin construction by September 2011 and have the pipeline completed by December 2012.
BURST OF APPLAUSE
Before a standing-room-only crowd of department heads, invited guests and town representatives in the County Courthouse, the governor was surrounded by a semicircle of company officials and politicians.
He had been about 20 minutes behind schedule, following a stop in Pulaski, which had many of the men pacing the room like expectant fathers until he arrived.
Paterson began to announce the award but as he mentioned the dollar amount, he was interrupted mid-sentence by boisterous applause and hoots, causing him to joke that it is the first time he'd received an ovation before anyone knew what the money was for.
During his brief remarks, the governor stressed the need for job creation and lower energy costs for businesses and industries.
He said projects like this one would lead the way.
"This will put Franklin County in a more competitive (position) to attract business and investment," he said.
"This is the 'Field of Dreams' economic policy: Build it, and they will come," Paterson said, laughing.
St. Lawrence Gas has put up $14 million of the $20 million estimated cost, while Franklin County had offered $1.42 million, and State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) secured $2 million.
The governor's pledge does not cover the project's entire funding gap, "but we believe it is enough of a commitment to move forward with the application process before the Public Service Commission," said Jim Ward, manager of strategic accounts and planning for the power company.