Vice President Joe Biden praised the multi-million dollar investment in the emerging photonics technology in the Rochester suburb of Greece on Monday, calling it a chance for the upstate economy to make a come back.

Biden was in western New York to announce the awarding of a $110 million federal grant for the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics — a technology that’s been used for smart phones, bar codes and military applications.

Combined with state and private-sector investment, funding of the Photonic Institute is expected to exceed $600 million. New York alone will be spending $250 million for equipment and installation needs.

The event is one of two for Biden and Cuomo: Both men are due to make an announcement together at the Sheraton Hotel in New York City; Cuomo is traveling with the vice president on Air Force 2.

At the event at the old Eastman Kodak building in Greece, Biden singled out Gov. Andrew Cuomo for praise, calling him “just about the best governor in the United States of America.”

He credited Cuomo with the state investment plan leading to the federal grant being approved.

“Governor, your vision is the reason why you won that competition,” he said. “All the intellectual power we need is right here”

Biden even adopted a favorite Cuomo talking point when comparing the investment in photonic research and development to other massive infrastructure and technology breakthroughs, saying it is akin to the construction of the Erie Canal in New York under DeWitt Clinton.

“We remain and continue to be the most innovative country in the world,” Biden said.

A more apt analogy may be the massive investment in nanotechnology in the Capital Region, where GlobalFoundries has been able to grow its chip-fabrication with the help of SUNY Polytechnic, which is also leading the photonic effort in the Rocehster area.

Biden’s ties to New York include attending Syracuse University Law School, but he has also made multiple trips to upstate New York while vice president, including stops with Cuomo at the Capitol and in New York, with infrastructure investment a common theme.

As a U.S. senator, Biden recalled traveling around upstate New York after manufacturers have left.

“I don’t know how many factories I visited from Buffalo down through Syracuse that had a padlock on the front door,” he said.

Off-script at times, Biden pointed to young people in the front row of the event, saying they will hear more about the “in-sourcing” of jobs to this country and not “outsourcing” adding they will benefit from a renewed focus on high-tech job training.

“In order to keep our edge,” Biden said. “You’ve got to build the most modern infrastructure in the world and have the most skilled workforce.”