“Governor Cuomo gets it — he understands that tourism is the economic engine of the Adirondacks. The investment in the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway and the other ORDA facilities will be paid back many times over with increased tourism, which the entire region will benefit from.
“The North Country used to feel isolated and forgotten by Albany; we don’t anymore,” Preston concluded.
Cuomo also said he’s proposing an emergency-services program to detect and respond to severe storms and other disasters.
A state share of $26 million would get New York $16 billion in federal funding for the governor’s new program.
It would include state-of-the-art weather-detection stations, upgraded emergency management and response, a better sealed New York City subway system, replacement of 100 upstate bridges with flood-resistant spans, storm-secure water-treatment plants, a resiliency institute for response planning, a new State College of Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security to train disaster workers and a citizen volunteer program for emergencies.
“We’ve had nine declared states of emergency since I became governor,” Cuomo said in his speech.
“We have to be prepared for these storms. If you’re not prepared, people will die. Investing in this technology is very important.”
After the speech, Essex County Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish said that because of frequent storms, he now tells people they need to be prepared to go without power and water for a minimum of three days.
He would welcome a quick-response system for these events.
“The frequency of natural disasters has increased. There’s definitely a need to be better prepared.”
Stec said he was glad to hear the governor build off what he had said in his State of the State address.
“I continue to be encouraged we’re talking about tax relief and infrastructure improvements. The North Country will fare well in what he’s proposed.”
Stec also said he agrees with the governor that ethics reform in state government is needed.
“He (Cuomo) wants to address corruption issues down here. He’s decided to include this in his mix for the budget.
“That will force the legislative leaders to negotiate with him on it. It’s too bad he has to use that to leverage the legislative leaders on this.”
Email Joe LoTemplio: email@example.com