In the coming months, a new Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative commission will decide how to dole out up to $300 million state dollars to lakefront communities.

The funding was approved by the state Legislature last month in the Capital Budget. State Senator Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, said the budget specifically dedicated $100 million to the initiative and he expects the remainder to come from a pot of $385 million approved for generic capital funding.

“My guess is that they’ll get the $300 (million) between the two pots and certainly it’s my job to make sure they do because that is what was said publicly,” he said.

Ortt is hopeful the state can potentially free up even more money, perhaps by funding state park needs along Lake Ontario from a different source, leaving more for municipal and private projects. Even so, he admits there will likely be more requests than there will be cash available through the REDI initiative.

“That’s one of the reasons I made a request to the attorney general and the governor to go after the federal government,” he said. “The federal government has to be a part of this because the state is not going to be able to just continue to fund this in infintum”

At Ortt’s urging, the governor did ask the state Attorney General to look into potentially suing the federal government to help mitigate extensive flooding both in 2017 and this year. The state Senator said the AG did reach out to him last week regarding the issue but they haven’t been able to connect yet.

Ortt said the governor meanwhile has asked the state Department of Environmental Conservation to have its legal department explore options, as well.

“I think they’re holding that, sort of see where we go,” he said. “Maybe the federal government comes up with funding.”

Ortt said under the International Joint Commission’s own regulatory plan for Lake Ontario, Plan 2014, it admitted there would be damages and financial impacts to New York State communities and has a responsibility to help foot the bill.