General Motors is announcing a major investment in three Western New York plants that will bring new work to the chosen sites. Governor Andrew Cuomo was among those who traveled to GM's Tonawanda Engine Plant to hear and celebrate the news Wednesday morning.
Approximately $334 million will be pumped into three of the automaker's regional operations. The Tonawanda Engine Plant will receive most of it, about $296 million, for new engine production. The Lockport operations will receive an estimated $32 million to produce related cooling systems while the Rochester operation will get $6 million for components to be made there.
GM officials, citing competitive security reasons, did not discuss details about the products that will be made as the result of the investment.
"It really is a testament to the fact that we're building great products," said Steve Finch, the plant manager at Tonawanda, where about 1,700 people are employed. "We have great people, great knowledge and experience, and those products are doing well in the marketplace, so we're happy about it."
Governor Andrew Cuomo was among the numerous elected officials who appeared to celebrate the announcement. His visit was brief and his remarks were similarly short. He praised the local workforce and, as he has done many times in his visits to Buffalo, spoken of Albany's investment to reverse decades of downturn in Buffalo and Western New York.
"Home values are going up. Young people are actually coming back to Western New York. When was the last time that happened?" said Cuomo. "And you see international companies now coming to Buffalo and investing in Western New York."
According to statistics released by GM, the company's investment will retain 854 jobs and create 67 new jobs at the Tonawanda Engine Plant. The Lockport investment will retain 320 jobs and the Rochester operation will retain 20 jobs.
"We work every day to try to work together as a team to be viable and make great products and maintain jobs for our members," said Nicole Current of United Auto Workers.
As Chuck Hall, one of the several UAW officers to speak, told a cheering Tonawanda crowd: "We've been building engine here for over 75 years. No one has built more engines than us. It is not a mistake that we have received this work because Tonawanda builds the best engines in the world."