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"Billion to Buffalo" moving ahead

Credit Ashley Hassett/WBFO News

Plans for the “Billion to Buffalo” are ready to be implemented. The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council met on University at Buffalo’s North Campus Thursday to announce how the funds will be allocated.

It was one year ago that the Governor promised $1 billion to Buffalo and now the final plans are in place for how that money will be used. Regional Co-chair Howard Zemsky said funds will be allocated to six investment initiatives.

“We’ve got three focus sectors in the economy," says Zemsky. "Our focus sectors are advanced manufacturing, tourism, and life sciences where we have a billion dollars invested into the medical campus. Then we’re focused on enablers, workforce development, getting people the right skills to fill the jobs. You can’t grow your economy if you can’t find people with the right skills to fill the positions. Revitalization and smart growth and then finally entrepreneurship is a third enabler.” 

Zemsky says the investment is expected to create thousands of jobs and spur new investment and economic development over the next several years.

“Around these strategies, creating an environment that attracts private sector investment is the way to go in building on our strengths. We have core strengths and we have certain needs, and so building on our strengths and trying to bolster some of the areas of weakness, that’s what we’re doing,” says Zemsky.

Committees comprised of area stakeholders and council members will be formed to appropriate the funding and a “Billion to Buffalo” website will be launched in a few weeks.

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