On Wednesday, Gov. Cuomo travelled to Rochester to tout his $10.4 billion plan to improve the upstate economy.  The Governor’s Executive budget proposal includes a $1.5 billion “Upstate Revitalization Initiative,” in which seven regions north of New York City would compete for one of three $500 million economic-development awards. Another $500 million would go to support the expansion of broadband Internet services in underserved areas.

Some lawmakers have criticized the Governor’s plan as spending too much on economic development, and not enough on basic infrastructure needs.  Others have compared the proposed economic development competition to “The Hunger Games,” because just three of the seven regions that will compete will receive funding.

Gov. Cuomo said:

“Upstate New York has turned the corner after decades of neglect that it used to see from state government – and now it’s time to make that progress permanent by making the largest investment in the region in modern political history.  Our proposal for more than $10 billion isn’t just about injecting capital into the region, it’s about investing in the talent and sophistication and potential that these communities have always had but have yet to be fully realized.”

We’ll note – just for the record — that we do not agree with Gov. Cuomo’s assertion that the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project should be considered an Upstate project.  But we are pleased that a large part of this year’s budget debate is about how what Albany can do to help the Upstate economy improve.

The Governor also launched a new web site on the initiative.