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Details of local REDI projects for lakeshore protection

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $84 million in combined funding for Monroe County and Wayne County to fund projects aimed at protecting homes, businesses and public land along Lake Ontario’s southern shore.

The Democratic governor made the announcement at the Port of Rochester Wednesday.

“We have gone through hell and back with these floods, a lot of people have been inconvenienced,” Cuomo said.

The money is part of the state’s $300 million Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, more commonly known as REDI. While the state funds the project — with a 5% match from communities affected by Ontario’s historically high water levels — local governments and municipalities burdened by flooding were tasked with coming up with their own specific protection plans that were suited for their specific area.

The capitol investment includes $43 million for Monroe County and $41 million for Wayne County.

Of the $300 million, $15 million will go to dredging that will cross the entire Lake Ontario shoreline in New York.

The funding also includes $15 million for private businesses and $20 million for homeowner assistance.

“This targeted funding for projects in Monroe and Wayne counties will address infrastructure needs to ensure sustainability long-term,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in a press release. “These critical efforts will help to combat devastation from extreme weather events, strengthen our economy, and enhance quality of life for residents.”

According to the governor’s office, since record high water levels in 2017, New York state has committed more than $100 million to rebuild communities along the Lake Ontario shoreline that were devastated by flooding, only to again experience record high water levels and flooding in these same communities this year.

The complete list of the 43 projects in Monroe and Wayne counties is available here

Meanwhile, the state is still following through with a lawsuit against the International Joint Commission (IJC) for negligence regarding its regulation of Lake Ontario’s water levels.

“The IJC, which we’ve been talking to for years, has been wholly unresponsive,” Cuomo said Wednesday at the Port of Rochester. “Phone calls, meetings, letters, discussions, nothing has changed.”

The IJC is a Canadian-American committee that is in charge of regulating water outflows and levels on Lake Ontario. The IJC has come under fire in recent years as Ontario has seen historically high water levels in 2017 and in 2019.

“I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for the IJC, I’m not going to hold my breath for mother nature,” Cuomo said.

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