New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the funding of $20.5 million in capital projects at 29 airports from Long Island to Lake Erie for 2018, describing the state’s aviation infrastructure as the “front door to the Empire State.”
AOPA and local organizations including the New York Aviation Management Association welcomed the announcement that details implementation of capital projects—an initiative that was strongly advocated by the associations and other groups during the 2017 legislative cycle, said Sean Collins, AOPA eastern regional manager.
Airports in nine regions of the state will receive year-2018 funding for projects ranging from security checkpoint enhancements and acquisition of ground service and maintenance equipment to terminal modernization and hangar construction.
“New York's airports are the front door to the Empire State, and in order to build on our efforts to attract new businesses and visitors, we will invest in these regional gateways to provide the best and safest travel opportunities for everyone," Cuomo said in a news release listing the funded projects. "Modernizing our airports and transforming them into state-of-the-art transit hubs will keep New York competitive in today's global economy, while providing an improved, more efficient means of travel for residents and visitors for decades to come."
“These state investments will assist New York airports in achieving their mission, which is to further economic development,” added Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas.
The announcement included bipartisan expressions of support from Sen. Joseph E. Robach (Republican, Conservative, and Independence parties-District 56) and Assemblyman David F. Gantt (D-District 137), the chairs of the Senate and Assembly transportation committee; and Sen. Phil Boyle (R-District 4) and Assemblymember Donna Lupardo (D-District 123), co-chairs of the Legislative Aviation Caucus.
The funding program builds on actions taken to bolster the state’s aviation system in recent years that included an Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition to award $40 million for infrastructure and improvement projects to each of five winning airports—championed by Cuomo following comments from then-Vice President Joe Biden likening New York’s LaGuardia Airport to a “third world” facility.
In 2015, budget action included a sales tax exemption on aircraft purchases on all general aviation aircraft, intended to make New York competitive with neighboring states and remove the temptation for aircraft owners to base their aircraft out of state.