On Wednesday, December 6, 2023, Congressman Joe Morelle engaged in a Greater Rochester Chamber Policy Matters webinar to discuss the NY SMART I-Corridor—a groundbreaking initiative with the potential to transform the Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse region's economic landscape. During this hour-long virtual session with over 100 members, Congressman Morelle shed light on the origins, goals, and the collaborative efforts that have positioned Rochester at the forefront of technological innovation.
Congressman Morelle began by expressing his excitement about the federal Tech Hub program, emphasizing its significance for Rochester and the broader region. Rooted in the CHIPS & Science Act, the initiative aimed to address concerns about the nation's semiconductor and technology competitiveness. Alluding to the book "Jump-Starting America," the congressman highlighted the need for federal investment in mid-sized cities to catalyze innovation.
Congressman Morelle acknowledged the collaborative efforts that led to the formation of the NY SMART I-Corridor—a partnership that goes beyond Rochester to include Buffalo, Syracuse, Cornell, and Corning. Leveraging the strengths of each region, this collaboration has created a super region poised to excel in semiconductor innovation. The involvement of universities, including the University of Rochester and RIT, played a crucial role in aligning academic centers with economic development goals.
Congressman Morelle underscored the significance of receiving the Tech Hub designation, emphasizing its potential to attract substantial federal resources and private venture capital. He shared that the President of the United States recognized Rochester's efforts, signaling the impact the designation could have on the region's growth and development.
Detailing the scope of the program, Congressman Morelle highlighted the $500 billion appropriated for Regional Innovation Hubs, with only a select few expected to receive funding. The Tech Hub aims to address key inhibitors of global competitiveness, focusing on semiconductor research, advanced manufacturing, and related technologies. The potential funding, ranging from $40 to $70 million, could significantly boost the region's capabilities in these areas.
Looking ahead, Congressman Morelle expressed optimism about the Tech Hub's ability to revitalize local manufacturing and transform Rochester into a global competitiveness center. He stressed the importance of bipartisan support and collaboration among leaders at various levels of government. The congressman also touched on additional initiatives, such as recompete grants, designed to uplift underserved communities and further strengthen the region's workforce.
The NY Smart I-Corridor represents a transformative initiative with the potential to propel the region to new heights in technology and innovation. The collaborative spirit, bipartisan support, and strategic partnerships position Rochester as a key player in the future of semiconductor research and advanced manufacturing.
Many thanks to Congressman Morelle, our members, and Policy Matters sponsors AT&T, Charter, Delta, and RG&E, as well as All Access Event Sponsors Indotronix Avani and three+one for taking part in this informative event.