March 9, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. | U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, along with Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH) and a bipartisan group of colleagues, has introduced a bill to extend the Northern Border Regional Commission (NRBC) critical grant program for 10 years while making additional reforms to encourage business retention and growth.

This legislation will strengthen both federal and state efforts to spur job creation and economic development in Upstate New York and the North Country.

“The Northern Border Regional Commission grants and projects have made a significant impact in our communities,” Stefanik said March 9.

“I have seen the success of many of these projects firsthand, and this bill is an important step in increasing access to the program for Upstate New York and the North Country. This legislation is essential after the forced closure of the Northern Border and delay in fully returning cross border travel to normal, and I am proud to work with my colleagues to extend this critical program.”

North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said “We were pleased to work with former Congressman John McHugh years ago who sponsored the original creation of the Northern Border Regional Commission.

“As we hoped would be the case, it has become a vehicle for assisting a variety of valuable projects in the North Country that don’t fit other agency programs or can fill critical funding gaps, and Congresswoman Stefanik has assisted us with several of those. One such project about to get underway is the construction of infrastructure at the old county airport to create ready industrial space, with major developments now at the table. We welcome her commitment to not only extending this regional tool for economic development but for looking to further enhance it. We will be actively supporting this legislation.”

In 2018, Stefanik worked to expand Northern Border Regional Commission eligibility to include all counties in New York’s 21st District, which has resulted in significant funding returned to her district.

The NBRC Reauthorization Act of 2022:

-Reauthorizes the NBRC for 10 years and increases the authorization from $33 million to $50 million for the first 5 years, and to $60 million for the following five years.

-Reauthorizes the State Capacity Building Grant Program, a program established in 2018 to further strengthen investment in local high-impact projects. Through this program, NBRC states provide additional funds to local economic and community development organizations to improve the development of projects that will support business retention and expansion, infrastructure development, and job creation.

-Provides the NBRC with additional flexibility for projects to address unique challenges facing the region’s rural workforce, including:

-Healthcare and child care by enhancing the NBRC’s ability to fund projects that invest in child care and health care needs. This includes projects to attract, train and retain qualified health care or child care personnel.

-Opioids by directing the Commission to place an emphasis on projects to combat substance use disorders from opioid and methamphetamine use.

The NRBC includes Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton, Essex, Hamilton, Herkimer, Fulton, Warren, Saratoga, Washington, Oneida, Montgomery, and Rensselaer and Oswego Counties.

Established in 2008, the NBRC is a federal-state partnership for economic and community development in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and New York. Rural regions in these states have benefitted from NBRC investments that have helped to develop public infrastructure, promote tourism, assist in job training activities, and promote the use of renewable energy sources in communities that have historically struggled to attract public and private investment.

“Funding which supports economic recovery for communities along the Northern Border continues to be a necessity as we continue to feel the lasting impacts of the border restrictions,” said Molly Ryan, Clinton County Economic Development Director.

“Clinton County has been fortunate to be a recipient of funding from the Northern Border Regional Commission and with it, have been able to create a shovel-ready site that several companies have committed to setting up shop and creating hundreds of jobs. We applaud the efforts of our federal representatives for spearheading this critical funding and we are confident that Clinton County remains in a strong position to secure future funding through the Northern Border Regional Commission.”

North Country Assemblyman Billy Jones said “The past two years have been extremely difficult for the North Country, especially with the border closure, and extending the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) until 2031 would help our region recover.

“Since NBRC started in 2010, over $23 million has been invested in New York and it’s critical that this program continues to help our region address the current childcare crisis and regional healthcare needs that were exacerbated by the pandemic. I want to thank our federal representatives for advocating to reauthorize this program and I welcome this opportunity for more funding to help economic development across the North Country.”

Read the full article here.