The New York Power Authority assumed ownership of the New York State Canal Corporation on Jan. 1, as the state prepares to celebrate the bicentennial of the building of the Erie Canal in 2017.
NYPA had assumed fiscal responsibility for the Canal Corporation on April 1, 2016. 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.”
As part of the Power Authority’s mission to provide clean, reliable power to New York, NYPA owns three hydroelectric facilities along the Erie Canal and has worked closely with the Canal Corporation for decades to operate them.
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.