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IDA approves financing for gas pipeline project

The Franklin County Industrial Development Agency has approved financing for the St. Lawrence Gas Pipeline project.

The IDA's board of directors announced in a press release earlier this week that it has approved "sales and use tax" exemptions to make the project more affordable.

Officials also say that "affected jurisdictions" have entered into payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements with St. Lawrence Gas.

Late last month, the state Public Service Commission approved a proposal by the St. Lawrence Gas Company to construct a 50 mile pipeline into northern Franklin County - currently, the existing line serves only eastern St. Lawrence County.

The company also wants to build a 50-mile network of distribution lines which would expand natural gas service in the North Country. Officials say the plan would add up to 2,500 new customers.

John C. Tubbs is executive director of the Franklin County Industrial Development Agency. He notes the pipeline project has been in the works for more than 10 years.

"Once the PSC approval was in, the IDA and St. Lawrence Gas went directly to the closing table," Tubbs said, noting that large projects like the gas pipeline rely on county financing.

"We are certainly glad to do our part for the pipeline and to be part of the team that pulled together to make this major economic development investment possible," he added.

The project is expected to cost nearly $24 million and has received support from state lawmakers, including Senator Betty Little.

John Tubbs says the IDA will administer its own financing for the pipeline, as well as public funds awarded by groups like the Dormitory Authority, the Empire State Development Corporation, and Franklin County.

"Our office is pleased to provide the financial management services needed to coordinate all of these funding sources," Tubbs said, adding that rural areas like Franklin County have "limited resources" to invest in economic development.

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