THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT GORE DISCUSSES ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS AND ANNOUNCES SUCCESS OF NEW YORK'S CANAL CORRIDOR INITIATIVE
AMSTERDAM, NY -- Vice President Al Gore today visited with working families and community leaders to discuss economic development opportunities and announce the release of a Cornell University evaluation on the success of the Clinton-Gore Administration's Canal Corridor Initiative in Upstate New York.
The Cornell report, funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Agriculture, estimates that the Canal Corridor Initiative will boost tourism in Upstate New York by 5 percent a year. It says this increase in tourism will create at least 17,000 jobs, raise state and local tax revenues by $447 million annually, and spark economic development in communities along the Erie Canal and its connecting waterways.
"This information shows that innovative economic development strategies can work for families in Upstate New York," said Vice President Al Gore. "We must continue to build on these efforts to ensure that no community is left behind and that we do all we can to offer hope for troubled communities by creating new jobs and more livable communities for working families."
Accompanied by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo, Vice President Gore walked through an Amsterdam neighborhood experiencing tough economic conditions. Talking with residents of the community, the Vice President heard first-hand about the hardship so many working families have endured due to the area's economic decline.
To learn more about the economic development needs of Upstate New York the Vice President also attended a regional issues forum with area citizens, local officials from many upstate communities, and business people at nearby Fulton-Montgomery Community College.
"The engine of economic growth that's improved the lives of most American families has stalled in parts of Upstate New York in the last few years," Secretary Cuomo said. "Vice President Gore has come here today because he's committed to getting Upstate's economic engine running at full power again, for the benefit all New Yorkers."
The Cornell report points out that "Upstate New York has been struggling particularly hard during the 1990s, lagging behind the nation in employment and wage growth and losing population to faster growing areas of the state and nation." The report says Upstate communities have been hit particularly hard by a number of factors, including: military base closings; company mergers and acquisitions that have moved jobs from small Upstate cities to large cities elsewhere; and deregulation of key sectors, including telecommunications, airlines, financial services, and utilities that have sent jobs outside the area.
In the past three years, HUD has provided $237.3 million in grants and loan guarantees and USDA has provided $160.2 million in assistance to Upstate communities through the Canal Corridor Initiative. This combined $397.5 million in federal assistance has stimulated $402.6 million in investment from the private sector and state and local governments, creating a total economic impact of $800 million for the Canal Corridor Initiative.
The Vice President chairs the Community Empowerment Board, which oversees the Empowerment Zone Program. A total of 24 urban and 8 rural Empowerment Zones have already been created under the Clinton-Gore Administration to spur economic growth in communities nationwide.
FINDINGS OF THE CORNELL UNIVERSITY REPORT: RECLAIMING A REGIONAL RESOURCE A Progress Report on The Department of Housing and Urban Development's Canal Corridor Initiative
The Cornell University report has three major findings:
"Tourism expenditures in the Canal region are rising and have the potential to produce significant economic growth. The Canal Corridor Initiative's investments create the capacity to draw and serve visitors to the region." The report said evidence of increased tourism created by the Canal corridor Initiative from 1996 to 1998 includes: a 12 percent increase in hotel taxable sales in the region, an additional 10,000 boats using a canal lift or passing under a lift price, and 18.5 percent increase in visits to National Park Service sites in New York, many of which are adjacent to the Canal.
"Based on a conservative estimate of a 5 percent increase in tourism sectors in the region, HUD's investment in the Canal Corridor is likely to yield over 17,000 additional jobs and a $447 million increase in state and local revenues."
"Canal Corridor Initiative investments have provided a flexible tool that has functioned as a catalyst for economic development in Canal Corridor communities. The initiative's overall framework has encouraged regional collaboration and contributed to broader economic development goals, including the retention of manufacturing jobs."
The Cornell University report says the Erie Canal and its connecting waterways, which helped these communities grow a century ago as centers of industry, will help transform the cities into centers of tourism with the help of the Canal Corridor Initiative.
The Cornell report recommends increased involvement by colleges, universities, foundations and business groups in the Canal Corridor Initiative to make the initiative even more successful.
The Canal Corridor Initiative is designed to put federal resources to work as part of a long-term and coordinated commitment to Upstate New York. The locally driven initiative seeks to turn the Erie Canal and connecting waterways that make up the 524-mile Canal Corridor into a major tourism destination that will spark economic development across upstate.
The Erie Canal, completed in 1825, originally was a major link between the Northeast and the Midwest. However, railroads, modern highways and the St. Lawrence Seaway took over the canal's role as a commercial waterway.
For further information please call HUD: (202) 708-0685. Note: The Cornell report and HUD progress reports are on the web at http://www.hud.gov/news.html.
VICE PRESIDENT GORE TODAY MET WITH THE FOLLOWING AMSTERDAM RESIDENTS TO
DISCUSS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Frank and Jean Traszkos
Mr. And Mrs. Traszkos were both born and raised in Amsterdam, NY. In fact, Jean was born in the house where she and Frank still live. After Frank's Naval service he opened a barber shop in the Grand Street neighborhood, which he was late forced to close when business slowed after the Sanford Plant closed in 1956. He then worked as a barber at the Albany Veterans hospital. Jean worked for 23 years at the Caleco plant before it closed.
William and Mary Elizabeth Renwick
This couple was raised in the Mohawk Valley of New York. Both are graduates of Fulton-Montgomery Community College. He is a correctional officer and she is a stay-at-home mother. They have three young children and are committed to staying in the local area.
Anne Marie Hutchinson
Ms. Hutchinson was employed in a middle management position, as a purchasing agent, with Coleco and then Hasbro. After losing her job with Hasbro, she entered the Fulton Montgomery Community College and is now employed as a service coordinator with the Private Industry Council.
Mr. Hay worked on the assembly line for Hasbro. Following the plant closure, he entered the Private Industry Council's dislocated workers program and earned a degree in computer technology from Fulton Montgomery Community College. Today is employed by Fleet Financial Services.
Ms. Sulem worked at the Coleco and then Hasbro plant for 27 years, being promoted from floor worker to crew captain to supervisor. When Hasbro closed, she served as a peer counselor for dislocated workers.
Ms. Glaznel worked as a clerk for Coleco and then Hasbro. Afte Hasbro closed she entered by Spencer Business Institute and earned a degree as a medial office specialist. Today she is employed by Mohawk Ambulance.
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