Mike Desmond

With the passage of the state budget, lawmakers have approved the Buffalo Billion II, the second wave of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's economic development plan for Western New York.  The $400 million in state dollars will help boost some high-profile projects. But there are those who believe the program's lack of transparency makes it vulnerable to corruption.


One of the issues in this week's state budget negotiations is aid to college students, public and private. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing free tuition for most public higher education students, while private schools are proposing more aid for their students.


Opposition is brewing on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border about plans to move dozens of shipments of nuclear waste from a plant in Chalk River, Ontario, to a plant in South Carolina.

Across Buffalo, a state agency is looking at extending the Metro Rail, another state agency is looking at re-doing the Scajaquada, another group is looking at finding a new Amtrak station and Congressman Brian Higgins is advocating removal of the Skyway. Buffalo's Common Council wants to put together a working group to look at the effect of all of these on the city.


Uber and Lyft could be coming to upstate New York under legislation passed by the state Senate. However, this is only the first-part of a three-way fight among the Senate, Assembly and governor.


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