New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pitching a competition that would pit seven upstate regions against each other for a chance to win $1.5 billion in economic development money.
Cuomo announced the idea Thursday in Rochester.
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If approved by lawmakers, the regions would submit economic proposals by July 1. Three winning bids would be selected this fall. Each would win $500 million.
The competing regions would be western New York, the Finger Lakes, the Southern Tier, central New York, the Mohawk Valley, the Capital Region and the North Country.
The prize would be funded from the state's $5 billion surplus from recent settlements with financial institutions.
Cuomo says the money would help reverse the economic decline and depopulation of areas he says have long been ignored by state leaders.