Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What Super Steel Could Teach AMD, or Why You Can't Flush The Toilet On A High Speed Train.

Note: If you read this post and it didn't make sense to you, it's because one paragraph somehow got left out. I have edited it so if you read it again, hopefully, it will make sense.

The number of potential jobs created by AMD in Luther Forest is now up from 1,200 to 8,000 according to Senator Hugh Farley in an interview with Bob Cudmore on WVTL yesterday. As Paul Vandenburgh likes to say, Senator Farley has been drinking the kool-aid.

Does anyone remember how Governor Pataki and Senator Farley said Super Steel was going to revolutionize the Mohawk Valley. It’s difficult to find information on how much was spent to get Super Steel of Milwaukee to build a factory in the Scotia-Glenville Industrial Park. The link to the press release in August of 1997 on Governor Pataki’s web site no longer works. No wonder. New York State’s relationship with Super Steel has been an embarrassment to both the State and Super Steel.

The State not only provided millions of dollars in loans, gifts and tax relief to Super Steel, it signed a 187 million dollar contract with Super Steel to refurbish high speed trains. The high speed train deal was a fiasco for the State, Amtrak and Super Steel. The State has a lawsuit against Amtrak for pulling out of the deal. But the State itself pulled out of the deal, paying Super Steel five and a half million dollars for doing so.

Super Steel almost closed because of the fiasco. Private money, not State money, kept it going. It appears that today Super Steel is doing okay. Even with gobs of government money to get it started, and gobs of private money to keep it afloat, and after ten years in operation, Super Steel is still however, not the industrial giant that everyone thought it was going to be.

You don’t hear George Pataki or Hugh Farley talking much about Super Steel anymore, but they are still running the New York State Industrial Lottery. “Step right up folks.” “Just a dollar and a delusion.”

It’s no coincidence that the AMD deal was announced recently. The governor and the senator want us to remember AMD when it’s time to vote. When I vote, I’ll remember Super Steel and the hundreds of other businesses in the Mohawk Valley that either the State or some local economic development agency gave thousands or millions to, only to have them fail.

Let me close this post with an anecdote that my brother-in-law told me. He worked at Super Steel as an Electrical Engineer for several years before getting laid off. You will not read this story in any press release from Super Steel or the governor. One of the reasons why the first refurbished trains had to be recalled is because of brake failure. The brakes were hydraulic and used the same hydraulic lines that were used to flush the toilets. If too many people were using the bathroom when the train braked, there was not enough pressure to apply the brakes.

The AMD deal is reminiscent of Super Steel's mothballed high speed turbos. The politicians are busy flushing our money down the toilet, and there is not enough pressure being applied to the brakes on this runaway train.


  • State officials believe the new chip fab plant will create 1000s of jobs in "spin off" businesses because that is what happened in Auston, TX. But Albany is not Austin and New York is not Texas. The costs of doing business here are much higher, taxes are higher, utilities are higher, and regulations and government control are more complicated and oppressive.

    These same reasons that drive jobs out of New York will also prevent the "spinoffs" from happening. It's why Super Steel did not amount to much more than itself, and why AMD will not result in much more either. The Austin Miracle cannot happen here because this is New York

    By Blogger Strikeslip, at 11:29 PM  

  • Kudos, it couldn't be said any better. Like the rail improvements they keep promising the state, when it happens, perhaps then I'll believe it. Incidentally, has anyone yet noticed the state Canal Corps. is still part of the Thruway Authority? Political promises aren't worth the air these windbaggers use to speak them. I'm still not entirely sure why I don't just go throw a c-note worth of singles at Luther Forest to help the state along on this endevour.

    By Blogger Horatio Alger, at 2:14 AM  

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