ALBANY (TNS) — Gov. Kathy Hochul wants her administration to pay for upgrades to infrastructure in tech parks across the state that cater to computer chip manufacturers.
The hope is that the investment will help attract new computer chip factories, or “fabs,” to the state — as well as a $2 billion federal chip manufacturing lab that could likely be headquartered in Albany, with potential satellite sites in other upstate cities.
The state’s designated “shovel ready” chip fab sites include the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Saratoga County where GlobalFoundries has its headquarters and Fab 8 chip factory. Others are located outside of Utica, Syracuse and in Western New York between Buffalo and Rochester.
Hochul did not reveal how much she is hoping to spend on the infrastructure upgrades, although she said it would happen through Empire State Development Corp., the state’s economic development arm.
”To jump-start New York’s shovel-readiness and increase the states attractiveness to large employers, ESD will allocate funding to develop sites that will attract high-tech manufacturing, particularly semiconductor manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and logistics businesses to the state,” Hochul says in her 2022 State of the State book.
New York state — which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on infrastructure upgrades at Luther Forest and other sites over the years — is very much hoping that Congress and the Biden administration will approve the $52 billion CHIPS Act, a federal subsidy program that would provide chip companies up to $2 billion to build new chip fabs — like GlobalFoundries’ Fab 8.2 project.
The CHIPS Act would also provide $2 billion to create a National Semiconductor Technology Center that is being sought by New York and IBM and others, with a headquarters in Albany and perhaps a location in other upstate location.
The CHIPS Act is being pushed as China has established dominance in the global computer chip manufacturing market while there have been chip shortages in the United States.
ESD, which would not say which chip companies it is in talks with over new chip fabs in Upstate New York, said it “enthusiastically” supports the governor’s plan for shovel-ready sites, which is one of ESD’s biggest economic development tools, along with state incentives — and the expected federal incentives.
”The importance of the semiconductor industry to New York state cannot be overstated, especially as the push for domestically produced chips throughout the nation grows,” an ESD spokeswoman said in a statement. “For years, New York state has made many investments to ensure we will attract semiconductor manufacturing, design and research including investments in shovel ready sites, work force, and education — just to name a few.”
Hochul also promoted a plan to reunite the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering with the University of Albany after having been merged with SUNY IT in Utica to create SUNY Polytechnic Institute in 2014.
CNSE, once known as the NanoCollege, has been a keystone in the state’s efforts to bring chip companies to upstate New York and to train engineers and scientists to work at places like GlobalFoundries or Wolfspeed, which operates a chip fab next to SUNY Poly’s campus in Marcy, a town just outside Utica.
The Times Union obtained a message that SUNY Poly interim Tod Laursen sent to students and faculty after Hochul’s State of the State address Tuesday at the Capitol.
Like others within SUNY, Laursen did not know all of the details of Hochul’s proposal, which UAlbany has been advocating for years and would bolster UAlbany’s research grant programs.
Although faculty at CNSE have also hoped to return one day to UAlbany, the former SUNY IT — now SUNY Poly — has benefited greatly from the CNSE merger — rising in college rankings and attracting new students.
”We are confident SUNY and the governor’s office share our commitment to this upward trajectory and will see to it that appropriate and necessary resources are dedicated for SUNY Poly to continue as New York state’s premier public polytechnic institute,” Laursen said in his letter.
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