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Cuomo announces $133 million to rebuild infrastructure along Lake Ontario

Max Schulte / WXXI News
Mike Arena casts a line into the Port of Rochester harbor, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $43 million for Monroe County and $41 million for Wayne County in Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced state funding for 63 projects across four counties along the Lake Ontario shoreline on Wednesday. It’s part of the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, or REDI.

Cuomo said flooding along the lakeshore is the new reality, and plans to rebuild should account for higher water levels. Severe floods damaged homes and businesses in 2017, and again this year. 

Credit WXXI News
More than $40m has been awarded to lake shore restoration projects in Monroe County.

"Rather than treating these as an emergency every time it happens and spending literally hundreds of millions of dollars on the emergency," he said, "let’s rebuild it with a different plan."

The matter, Cuomo said, is of major consequence for the state’s economy. Projects include ecosystem restoration and erosion protection, and they emphasize natural or nature-based shoreline protective measures and green infrastructure.

Of the many projects being funded, $1.5 million will go toward elevating Lake Road above floodwater levels in Webster, and $15 million will be allocated to a regional dredging effort. Barrier bar breaches and erosion will also be addressed.

Cuomo said it’s up to local communities to determine what the priorities are.

“The state will invest money and the state will facilitate and the state will help, but it is up to local communities to come up with the plan,” he said.

That local involvement includes a 5 percent local match of state funding. Cuomo said this is to ensure that the municipalities have skin in the game as well as the state.

Noelle E. C. Evans is an education reporter/producer with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.