ROCHESTER, N.Y. — New York State says offices at the Test, Assembly and Packaging facility, part of the American Institute of Manufacturing Integrated Photonics project, should be ready for occupants this month. Labs and cleanrooms should be finished by the beginning of next year, with tool installation slated for the second quarter of 2018.
"Everything is on track and from my understanding, everything is on budget or under budget for the TAP facility," AIM Photonics Leadership Council Chair Bob Duffy said.
Project leaders said the facility, which will offer unique equipment to partners from across the country, should spur development and job growth around the project.
"We should be the only location in this part of the country and potentially anywhere in the U.S. that could do this kind of highly-specialized packaging for semi-conductor wafers," Duffy said.
While he expects somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs at the TAP facility, he's less prepared to make projections about the project as a whole.
"It really depends on the performance that everybody puts forth with that facility, how it's marketed, how it's supported," Duffy said.
Gates Town Supervisor and former congressional candidate Mark Assini said the public deserves to see a business plan explaining why the state and federal governments are investing more than $350 million. He said after reaching out to numerous agencies over the past six months, he doesn't believe those documents exist.
"Nobody, even for political reasons or for the possibility of being reelected, should make a promise to people and spend that kind of money without backing it up," Assini (R) said.
In particular, he has been critical of his former opponent Congresswoman Louise Slaughter's estimate of 5,000 to 7,000 jobs. In an email, Slaughter's office told him the numbers are based on a global industry projection of nearly 60,000 jobs by 2025 and the belief Rochester can capture a large portion of those, leveraging the TAP facility.
"There's no connection between how that global projection ties back to the photonics center. It's just, we're hoping to have one eighth of the world's market," Assini said.
Assini believes Slaughter made the job projections because they sounded good during an election year while the congresswoman's office says in disparaging the project, Assini's putting his political ambition ahead of his community. Duffy believes the project will be successful and urged everybody to have patience.
"I wouldn't criticize anything before it gets off the ground and by criticizing something before it even starts, so to speak, in terms of actually operating, it sends out a poor message to those companies that may be thinking of coming here in the future," he said.