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How much "Buffalo Billion Squared" is new money, and what will it really pay for?

New York State Governor's Office

Governor Andrew Cuomo will conclude his tour of New York State today, delivering his final two versions of his State of the State address. Back in Western New York, where he appeared Monday, many are excited about what Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion Squared" has to offer, while others including Investigative Post's Jim Heaney have many questions.

Cuomo drew cheers when he introduced elements of his new spending plan. The $500 million is being called "Buffalo Billion Squared" because, as the governor suggested, it will build upon the successes of the original Buffalo Billion "exponentially."

Among its offerings is a proposed expansion of the Metro Rail within the City of Buffalo, northward into Amherst and, at the other end, up to the DL&W Terminal in the city's Cobblestone district.

Credit WBFO News photo
Jim Heaney, editor of Investigative Post, spoke to WBFO about Governor Andrew Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion Squared," which was the centerpiece of Monday's State of the State address in Amherst.

Cuomo also spoke of middle class relief, including tuition-free public college education for New Yorkers in households earning no more than $125,000 annually. 

Among the questions Heaney raises during the full-length interview: How much of this Buffalo Billion Squared money is really new, as opposed to already-earmarked money repackaged as a new funding source? On what will it really be spent? And is the proposed metro rail expansion really the best use of so many dollars? 

You can view Investigative Post's work at its official website,investigativepost.org.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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