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New York Power Authority Takes Over Control Of NY's Canal System

The New York Power Authority has officially assumed ownership and control over the NYS Canal System.  The planned event was originally part of a 2016 agreement where Gov. Cuomo proposed the move from the NY Thruway Authority which had maintained control of The Canal System since 1992.

Often this relationship had contentious elements as on occasion the Thruway Authority had been sued on the basis that it had taken toll money and diverted it towards the operation of the Canal System.

The Thruway Authority is one of the few agencies within NYS that don’t operate with Tax Payer funds.  The pressure put on the Thruway Authority from the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge project may have been the main reason for this move.

The New York Power Authority, another agency that doesn’t operate with tax payer resources seems to be the perfect fit.  They currently operate 3 hydro-electric plants on the Erie Canal System, and with more than 20 other existing hydro-electric facilities existing on the Canal, it seems to perfectly fit in with their mission statement to provide clean reliable power for New York

NYPA had assumed fiscal responsibility for the Canal Corporation last April 1. The Power Authority plans to run the Canal Corporation as a subsidiary, similar to the relationship Canals had under the New York State Thruway Authority, which had overseen the canal system since 1992.

“We have anticipated this day for nearly a year and we are excited about the potential this new partnership represents,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO.  “By helping to identify and streamline operations with the Canal Corporation, we are confident we can achieve operating efficiencies to build on the solid foundation of this iconic waterway.”

“Thanks to the hard work of many dedicated employees at NYPA, Canals and the Thruway Authority, this transfer will be seamless for the many dedicated users of the Canal System,” said Brian U. Stratton, Canal Corporation director. “With the benefit of NYPA’s focus on best-in-class operations and Canals’ dedicated workforce, we will ensure the canal system continues to thrive.”   

During the past year, teams of NYPA, Thruway and Canals employees have worked to integrate the two agencies, separating out many complex functions from the Thruway Authority. For New Yorkers who rely on the 524-mile waterway for boating, recreation, tourism and agriculture, the transfer is anticipated to have little impact.

NYPA is the nation's largest state public power organization, through the operation of its 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

The New York State Canal system includes the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca canals. Spanning 524 miles, the waterway links the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. In 2017, the Canal Corporation will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the groundbreaking for the Erie Canal, which occurred in the city of Rome on July 4, 1817.

About NYPA:NYPA is the nation's largest state public power organization, through the operation of its 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower.

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