Upstate NY envisions ‘semiconductor superhighway’ in Tech Hub bid

Upstate New York hopes to secure up to $75 million in federal funds to promote the growth of the semiconductor industry from Buffalo to Syracuse if it is chosen for a “tech hub.”

But first, the upstate entry needs to be named among the winners in a competitive, nationwide process. That competition has entered the next phase.

Two Western New York congressmen like the chances of the area being designated as a national tech hub, which could come with up to $75 million in investment from the federal government.

A joint bid by Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester – formally called NY SMART I-Corridor – has submitted its application to the U.S. Economic Development Agency. The EDA is part of the Department of Commerce and is overseeing the tech hub process.

Upstate’s entry focuses on semiconductor development, building on announced projects such as Micron’s chip plant near Syracuse, which is valued at up to $100 billion, and Edwards Vacuum’s planned $319 million plant in Genesee County. 

Sen. Charles Schumer said if upstate is chosen for a tech hub, it would turn the I-90 corridor from Buffalo to Syracuse “into America’s semiconductor superhighway.”

People are also reading…

“I firmly believe upstate New York has everything it takes to help make that dream a reality, and help America maintain its competitive edge, all while taking us to the next frontier in technology,” Schumer said.

“Once we become a tech hub, it’s going to become easier, much easier, to attract new, high-end industries,” Schumer said. “We’re beginning to do it already, but this should make it even bigger, better and stronger in the future.”

The federal program is designed to bolster innovation in areas outside of high-tech hotbeds such as Silicon Valley. The hubs will be geographically dispersed.

Schumer championed creating the program as part of the CHIPS and Science Act. He has also advocated for upstate New York to be selected for a tech hub. (The program is unrelated to M&T’s tech hub inside Seneca One tower.)

The EDA will designate about 20 regional Tech Hubs across the country, awarding them an initial $500,000 each, and then cut that down to three to eight recipients for the phase two grants, worth up to between $50 million and $75 million. The phase one awards are expected to be announced this fall.

“This program aims to invest in regions with the assets, resources, capacity, and potential to become globally competitive, within approximately 10 years, in the technologies and industries of the future,” the EDA said.

About $500 million in federal funds would help launch the process for selecting technology and innovation hubs around the country, with the Buffalo Niagara region vying to be one of the winners.

The deadline for entering the competition was Tuesday. An EDA representative could not be reached to say how many applications were submitted.

Schumer said targeted funding through a tech hub designation would pay dividends on multiple fronts, including attracting suppliers; providing early stage-funding to launch new semiconductor companies from research and development; aligning higher education with workforce development to train new workers; and supporting underserved communities and businesses.

Schumer said he believes Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse improved their chances by applying jointly, drawing on their respective strengths in workforce, industry and academic institutions.

“These three cities are a triple threat, in terms of how strong they are in terms of getting this grant,” he said.

Rep. Brian Higgins and Rep. Nick Langworthy have also pushed for the designation for upstate New York.

“The United States is positioning itself to be a global leader in semiconductor production and Western New York is the community ready and able to deliver on this goal,” Higgins said.

If the upstate entry is ultimately selected for a hub, Schumer predicted far-reaching effects on jobs and attracting young people to the region.

“it’s going to make us one of the centers of tech in the country, period,” he said.

Matt Glynn

#lee-rev-content { margin:0 -5px; } #lee-rev-content h3 { font-family: inherit!important; font-weight: 700!important; border-left: 8px solid var(–lee-blox-link-color); text-indent: 7px; font-size: 24px!important; line-height: 24px; } #lee-rev-content .rc-provider { font-family: inherit!important; } #lee-rev-content h4 { line-height: 24px!important; font-family: “serif-ds”,Times,”Times New Roman”,serif!important; margin-top: 10px!important; } @media (max-width: 991px) { #lee-rev-content h3 { font-size: 18px!important; line-height: 18px; } }

#pu-email-form-buffalo-next-article { clear: both; background-color: #fff; color: #222; background-position: bottom; background-repeat: no-repeat; padding: 15px 0 20px; margin-bottom: 40px; border-top: 4px solid rgba(0,0,0,.8); border-bottom: 1px solid rgba(0,0,0,.2); } #pu-email-form-buffalo-next-article, #pu-email-form-buffalo-next-article p { font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, “Segoe UI”, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, “Apple Color Emoji”, “Segoe UI Emoji”, “Segoe UI Symbol”; } #pu-email-form-buffalo-next-article h2 { font-size: 24px; margin: 15px 0 5px 0; font-family: “serif-ds”, Times, “Times New Roman”, serif; } #pu-email-form-buffalo-next-article .lead { margin-bottom: 5px; } #pu-email-form-buffalo-next-article .email-desc { font-size: 16px; line-height: 20px; margin-bottom: 5px; opacity: 0.7; } #pu-email-form-buffalo-next-article form { padding: 10px 30px 5px 30px; } #pu-email-form-buffalo-next-article .disclaimer { opacity: 0.5; margin-bottom: 0; line-height: 100%; } #pu-email-form-buffalo-next-article .disclaimer a { color: #222; text-decoration: underline; } #pu-email-form-buffalo-next-article .email-hammer { border-bottom: 3px solid #222; opacity: .5; display: inline-block; padding: 0 10px 5px 10px; margin-bottom: -5px; font-size: 16px; } @media (max-width: 991px) { #pu-email-form-buffalo-next-article form { padding: 10px 0 5px 0; } } .grecaptcha-badge { visibility: hidden; }