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Long Island to compete for millions in business aid

Buildings under construction on Straight Path as the

Buildings under construction on Straight Path as the Wyandanch Rising Project continues on Nov. 20, 2014. Credit: James Carbone

Long Island and the state's other nine regions will likely receive more business aid in 2015 than in past years under new rules announced Thursday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

In a statewide competition, the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council could win as much as $105 million and a minimum of $90 million. This is also true for New York City and five upstate regions.

These amounts are higher than the average award given annually since Cuomo established the development councils' contest for grants and state tax credits in 2011.

Up to $750 million is at stake, the same as in past years. But restrictions are now in place on the amounts three upstate regions can receive, leaving more for the other seven.

In a separate contest, the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, those three winning regions will share $1.5 billion, to be distributed over five years.

"This approach ensures that no region is a loser," according to a news release from Cuomo's office.

The money helps businesses expand and supports construction projects such as more sewers in Suffolk County.

The councils will have more time to scrutinize applications for aid. Projects are judged on a 100-point scale with the councils awarding up to 20 points and the state agencies that provide the funds, up to 80 points. Applications are now available and are due at the councils by 4 p.m. July 31.

The councils "are helping communities across the state invest in their many unique assets and expand opportunities for growth from the ground up," Cuomo said Thursday.

The Island's council has secured $326.2 million over four years for 347 projects. That's the third-largest amount after Syracuse and the Adirondacks.

Kevin Law, the council's co-vice chairman and president of the Long Island Association business group, said Thursday, "We do not intend to rest on our laurels and expect to aggressively compete in Round V to win again."

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