Senate passage of Innovation and Competition Act could have implications for Rochester region

The U.S. Senate’s passage of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act could be the blueprint needed to make New York a global innovation and semiconductor hub, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said this week.

Schumer, a staunch advocate of the state’s technology and semiconductor industries, had reintroduced the bipartisan Endless Frontier Act in April. The Innovation and Competition Act combines the Endless Frontier Act — an initiative to advance and solidify the U.S.’s leadership in scientific and technological innovation through increased investments in the discovery, creation and manufacturing of technology critical to national security and economic competitiveness — with other bipartisan competitiveness bills, and includes $52 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to implement the semiconductor-related manufacturing and research and development programs Schumer authorized in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act.

The Innovation and Competition Act also includes a program to support legacy chip production that is vital to the auto industry, the military and other critical industries. An additional $1.5 billion was included for the implementation of the USA Telecommunications Act that also was passed as part of last year’s NDAA to foster 5G innovation.

“Senate passage of the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act moves forward historic legislation to invest in science, technology and U.S. manufacturing that will shore up critical industries like semiconductors, artificial intelligence, advanced communications like 5G, quantum computing, biotechnology and advanced energy, and create opportunities to reshape the Upstate New York economy with investment in new regional tech hubs and support for New York entrepreneurs and research at universities and laboratories,” Schumer said in a statement this week.

University of Rochester President Sarah Mangelsdorf said that federal investment in scientific research has not kept pace with the U.S.’s global competitors and threatens the country’s leadership.

“By making bold, critical new research investments in key emerging fields and developing new growth centers across the county, we can capitalize on the tremendous capabilities of research universities and academic medical centers like the University of Rochester to catalyze new technologies, companies and cures to help build an ever-better future,” Mangelsdorf said.

Genesee County Economic Development Center President and CEO Steve Hyde noted Schumer’s longtime backing of Upstate New York as the ideal region for critical growth in the domestic semiconductor manufacturing and R&D investments.

“We applaud Sen. Schumer for his leadership in winning Senate passage of this bill and agree that the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act would be catalytic in growing the high-tech economy at the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) and all across Upstate New York,” Hyde said.

In February this year, Albany-based Plug Power Inc. said it planned to invest nearly $300 million in a new green hydrogen fuel production facility at STAMP, a move that will create 70 jobs and pave the way for additional high-tech businesses at the site.

“As outlined in an analysis by MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, the Greater Rochester region is ranked number one in the nation as ripe for technological and economic investment and growth,” said Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy. “With 19 nationally and internationally renowned higher education institutions to provide much-needed talent, world-class facilities like STAMP and Eastman Business Park — which are primed to host new semiconductor jobs and factories — and a long history of cutting-edge technological research and development, Rochester is perfectly suited for additional investment. Greater Rochester Chamber and our 1,300 members commend Sen. Schumer on securing Senate passage of this bill and stand ready to help take this legislation over the finish line.”

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