Amherst Chamber of CommerceAmherst Chamber of Commerce

 

Good News from Albany

By: Colleen DiPirro, Amherst Chamber of Commerce President and CEO

 

Good News from Albany? That's something we don't hear often but that is exactly what happened last month when the Governor announced Western New York would receive over $100 million to be dedicated to our Economic Development Regional Plan.  As a member of the Council, I am ecstatic and look forward to participating in the implementation of the regional plan beginning this month. 

 

As Chair of the Logistics Council, I found that our region has a huge opportunity to grow jobs in this industry.  Western New York is well positioned to develop as a primary international hub for transportation, logistics and distribution.  As stated in the final report, the region enjoys a prime geographic location, local transportation network, a strong base of professional knowledge and skilled workforce.  Strategic investments in this sector are likely to produce a significant return in jobs, firms and income.  For that reason, we are going to continue to meet as a work group. 

 

The work group is comprised of practitioners in this industry; representing airports, railroads, developers, transportation companies and economic development officials.  We concluded that the goal of the work group would be to assist in leveraging our International border location. This spawned the decision to create a bi-national logistics council to coordinate planning for key investments, advocate for public policy action on taxation, regulation, and infrastructure; build operational relationships among key stakeholders; and mount a marketing and promotional strategy and program to reinforce the region as a primary hub in the global logistics network. 

 

The council could be led by an existing economic development agency or create their own independent group and would encompass representatives from the five WNY counties and southern Ontario including stakeholders from industry, government and academia.  The Amherst Chamber of Commerce is hosting the first meeting of the year later this month for the purpose of flushing out the specific short and long term goals and objectives of the hub and the organizational structure.  This is not an initiative of the Chamber; rather, we are convening the group and providing the forum for dialogue.  If you are interested in seeing the full report on Bi-National Logistics that is part of the WNY Regional Economic Development Plan or would like to learn more about this innovative group, email me at cdipirro@amherst.org.

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