Rep. Owens asks Congress to reauthorize support for economically distressed New York border communities
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 2:48 pm

Congressman Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh, NY21) has called again this week for a long-term reauthorization of the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC), which provides federal support for economically distressed communities in the Northeast.

Without action in Congress, the NBRC’s authorization will expire Sept. 30, at the end of federal fiscal year 2013.

Owens recently co-sponsored legislation to extend the authorization for the NBRC for an additional five years and called on Congress to enact the bill.

“The Northern Border Regional Commission supports New York communities, and it is important that we continue this momentum moving forward,” Owens said. “Reauthorizing the Northern Border Regional Commission shows a real commitment to economic development in the region, and I urge my colleagues to act quickly before its authorization expires.”

The bill would authorize $30 million annually for Northern Border Commission activities for fiscal years 2014 to 2018.

Although NBRC has been authorized at the $30 million level since its creation in 2008, Congress has only appropriated between $1 million and $1.5 million annually. With these limited funds, NBRC has supported infrastructure projects in New York related to tourism and business development, including $123,500 to the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena to build a rail spur on the existing CSX St. Lawrence Subdivision.

Counties within New York’s 21st Congressional District eligible for funding under the NBRC include St. Lawrence and the area from Clinton County in the east to Lewis County in the west.

New York State is one of four states in the federally-defined Northern Border region, along with parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.