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Website details LI winning, losing development projects

A ferry terminal in Glen Cove, improvements to Riverhead's sewage treatment plant and expansion of the Hampton Jitney bus service were among about 180 local projects that sought and failed to win state aid in 2011, it was disclosed this week.

Long Island captured more than $100 million last year in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's statewide competition for state tax credits and grants. Details of the winning and losing proposals can now be found at nyscfaprojectdata.ny.gov.

Among the 70 or so local winners are the Ronkonkoma-MacArthur Airport transit hub and Brentwood's Heartland mini-city.

The website, from the Empire State Development Corp., reveals project grades, from 0 to 100, for the first time. Twenty percent of each project's score came from the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council; 80 percent, from various state agencies.

Among local projects receiving state aid, the highest grade, 99.2 points, went to the blight- removal initiative Wyandanch Rising, which won $6 million.

Vision Quest Lighting, a Ronkonkoma-based maker of energy-efficient lights, had the lowest grade, 36.4, but secured $600,000.

Passed over for assistance was Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano's $253-million Hub proposal to redevelop the land around Veterans Memorial Coliseum. He requested $75 million for infrastructure improvements to support entertainment and biotechnology facilities.

The Hub plan earned 76.8 points (16.8 out of 20 from the council; 60 out of 80 from state officials). Mangano's plan failed, in part, because he asked for too much money, said several council members who requested anonymity.

Last month Mangano submitted a new funding request.

The council members said some plans didn't win, despite high marks, because they weren't aligned with the council's five-year blueprint for creating jobs. The council also wanted aid to be distributed throughout Long Island.

The website allows local residents to track the progress of projects, giving dates for anticipated completion.

Austin Shafran, a spokesman for Empire State Development, said the site "will serve as a helpful tool to ensure accountability and performance in the progress of these transformative projects."

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