Last week, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership (BNP) released its advocacy agenda for 2018, which highlights the many challenges that employers in Western New York face. They include too much red tape, mandates that drive up labor costs, and the need for more skilled workers, among others. The report also notes that progress was made in 2017 — ride-hailing was authorized; the 18-a utility tax was finally allowed to expire; and workers’ compensation reforms were enacted.

BNP also identified five regional priority projects: development of an agriculture industrial park in Angola; completion of the Cars Sharing Main Street initiative in downtown Buffalo; reconstruction of 2.7 miles of Lower Mountain Road in Lewiston; extending the NFTA Metro Rail to the north and south to better connect people to jobs and stimulate new redevelopment opportunities; and modifications to the Niagara Scenic Parkway.

BNP President and CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen said:

“The policy priorities outlined in this document speak directly to how government at the federal, state and local level can best work together with employers to build a more robust and competitive regional economy. This document will drive the Partnership’s advocacy work for the year, guide our discussions with elected officials and decision-makers, and focus our programming and events over the next 12 months.”