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Micron's investment could bring a 'renaissance of central New York'

Mike Groll / Office Of Governor Kathy Hochul Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra speaking at Syracuse University Tuesday
Mike Groll / Office Of Governor Kathy Hochul Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra speaking at Syracuse University Tuesday

WRVO - Senator Chuck Schumer recently called Micron’s $100 billion investment in central New York a 21st century Erie Canal. The project is expected to change the landscape of the upstate economy for years to come.

Carl Schramm is an entrepreneur and an economics professor at Syracuse University. He said globalization decimated upstate New York’s economy, but with Micron moving to Clay, in addition to the new Amazon facility which opened this summer, this could be a huge step in recovery.

“Look at where we might be twenty years from now," Schramm said. "We might be in the renaissance of central New York,” Schramm said. “ There'll be new wealth here, there'll be stronger universities, better hospitals, much better transportation.”

Alongside a boom in the housing market, Schramm said there’ll be more commuters coming from places like Pulaski, Fulton, Cortland and Utica – affecting the neighboring economies outside of Clay.

“Eventually what happens is people will be making family formation decisions,” Schramm said. “They'll be making new housing decisions. The understanding is its implication for the region is all going to be expressed through the labor market.”

He said the area could become a cradle of innovation and entrepreneurship. Micron is expected to bring 50,000 jobs around its chip-plant, but Schramm said he expects to see other business endeavors pop up too like sanitation, air-quality control and plumbing.

“There'll be people working in that plant who will be watching things happen and they'll have an idea about how it could be done faster or better or cheaper,” Schramm said. “This plant is likely to yeast a number of companies that actually improve its own productivity by people who've worked there.”

Additionally, central New York could also see changes in its infrastructure to accommodate the thousands of new people like expanded highways and a larger Syracuse airport.

“The region will be connected to the rest of America in ways that it is not now and to the rest of the world in ways that it is not now,” Schramm said. “One could imagine twenty years from now flights from Syracuse to Shanghai, flights from Syracuse to London, flights from Syracuse to Mumbai. We could be a worldwide hub for the production of these chips. But more importantly, with that will come the strengthening of the human capital in this region.”