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Gov. Tom Wolf Unveils $12M Budget Proposal Promoting Innovation In Pa.

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled a multi-million budget proposal that aims to promote innovation in Pennsylvania.

Governor Tom Wolf chose Pittsburgh as the place to make an announcement on making Pennsylvania better when it comes to innovation. He also came to town pledging $12 million dollars in the upcoming budget to make it happen.

The announcement came at Mill 19 in the shell of the old LTV Steel facility in Hazelwood.

WATCH LIVE: Gov. Tom Wolf Holds Press Conference In Pittsburgh

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Posted by KDKA-TV | CBS Pittsburgh on Friday, January 24, 2020

"Even though we only opened this facility a few months ago, they are attracting leading companies and universities from across the nation to develop the future of manufacturing right here at Hazelwood Green," said Jim Garrett, Jr., Provost of Carnegie Mellon University, one of the tenants in the tech incubator.

The first sentence of the governor's remarks set the tone for the announcement: "As an MIT graduate, I think it's a wonderful thing that you are allowing MIT to participate in this project." His observation received a hearty laugh from the hundred-plus people invited to hear his remarks.

The governor said Pennsylvania is no longer among the top five states for technological advancements. That's why he is pledging money from the upcoming budget to push innovation. As he toured CMU's operation at Hazelwood Green, he saw plenty of examples of how Pittsburgh is on the cutting edge with robotics.

One company, VEO Robotics of Boston, is working on sensors to stop manufacturing robots instantly if a person gets too close. That is a huge improvement over putting the equipment inside a caged area to protect people who might walk past. It is not only safer, but it also means less space has to be dedicated on the robots on the factory floor. The technology is called

That is the type of innovation the governor wants to support.

"That's the kind of thing that really makes -- that's going to really make robotics work," said Governor Wolf, "People and machines working together."

governor tom wolf
(Photo Credit: KDKA's Rick Dayton)

While Pennsylvania may not be where the governor wants it to be in terms of technology, the state has a lot of advantages to offer.

"Pennsylvania is the most diverse state economy in the country as reported by Bloomberg," says Secretary Dennis Davin of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. "That's really something that we should all celebrate."

Spreading $12 million across a state as large as Pennsylvania will not be easy, but Senator Jay Costa says it is a good start.

"The governor's goal is to elevate Pittsburgh into the top tier of innovation activities around the country which I think is really important," said Costa. He went on to say the investment is a significant statement by the governor.

And the business and development community liked what it heard from the state's chief executive as well.

Don Smith is the President of RIDC. His firm helped build Hazelwood Green.

"To have this collection of important folks here today, to recognize the progress that we have made in Pittsburgh, and having them at one of our RIDC facilities to showcase how we are helping to catalyze those partnerships is really a great day," he said.

Stay with KDKA for Rick Dayton's full report at 4.

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