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Cuomo proposes $300 million plan to 'reimagine' the Erie Canal

Office of NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo is unveiling a $300 million plan to “reimagine” the Erie Canal by creating recreational activities to boost tourism, mitigate flooding, enhance irrigation and recreational fishing and restore wetlands.

It’s part of Cuomo’s upcoming State of the State address and the governor is recommending the New York Power Authority Board, which oversees the Canal Corporation, approve the $300 million investment over the next five years.

In the first phase of the program, a $100 million economic development fund will support a variety of projects. Among them is the “Brockport Loop” project which will connect the SUNY College at Brockport to the Empire State Trail and the Village of Brockport through the transformation of a canal guard-gate into a pedestrian bridge and overlook. The Ralph Wilson Foundation will provide a supporting grant of $2 million.

Another project would provide a new whitewater destination at the north end of Cayuga Lake near Seneca Falls, adjacent to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.

Funds would also be allocated to mitigate chronic summer and winter flooding in the Mohawk River Valley as well as establish an irrigation district in Western New York to help ensure farmers have reliable access to water during the summer growing season.

Cuomo will deliver his State of the State address from Albany on Wednesday starting at 1:30pm. That address will be carried live on WXXI radio and TV, and streamed live at

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.