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Morelle: Rochester well positioned as tech hub; expect more pain at pump

Morelle: Rochester well positioned as tech hub; expect more pain at pump

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Rep. Joe Morelle said he will push the Rochester region as the home for a government-supported regional technology and innovation hub as Congress looks to invigorate private sector growth with $6.8 billion in America COMPETES Act funding.

Rep. Joe Morelle (file photo).

But as the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate work to finalize language on a bill that addresses the country’s long-term economic needs, Americans should expect to feel more pain at the pump in the near future.

Morelle (D-NY) said gas prices will continue to rise as global demand from non-Russian oil sources increases during the war in Ukraine.

“It’s hard to imagine how the price won’t go up,” Morelle said on Friday afternoon during an informational webinar presented by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.

He has co-sponsored legislation in the House that would suspend the 18.3-cent federal gas tax.

“Saying it is much easier than doing it,” Morelle admitted, “but any benefit we can pass along to consumers, we need to do.”

The America COMPETES (Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength) Act has been passed by the House. The Senate also passed its version, the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USIAC).

Morelle said the House proposes spending $6.8 billion to create tech hubs outside of the traditional areas of San Francisco, New York City, Boston, Los Angeles and San Jose.

“Ninety percent of venture capital money in the United States goes to five cities,” Morelle said. “Private venture capital is being invested there because they’ve had success there.”

He said government investment is necessary in manufacturing, and that the establishment of new tech and innovation centers will help even the economic playing field with China.

“This will attract private capital,” Morelle said.

He emphasized that Rochester is well positioned for federal and private investment because of the tech incubators and educational components.

“Rochester’s history is one of innovation,” Morelle said.

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