Plattsburgh International Airport has won $38 million in state money for a new cargo center and general aviation customs facility.
Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement in Albany Wednesday afternoon as part of his ongoing State of the State presentations.
The funds come through the second round of the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition. The money was included in the last $21.1 billion five-year New York State Department of Transportation Capital Plan.
“Transportation infrastructure is the bedrock of our economy, and with these critical upgrades at the Plattsburgh International Airport, we are ensuring the North Country’s long-term economic prosperity for generations to come,” Cuomo said in a press release.
“This investment is about creating jobs and giving this region the transit hub it needs to thrive in a 21st century economy.
“We will continue investing in these critical projects to build for the future and make our upstate economies more competitive than ever before.”
The funding is in addition to the airport’s $43 million renovation project.
The project is expected to transform the airport into a state-of-the-art transportation and economic-development hub and create 825 construction jobs throughout its duration.
The goal is to modernize the facility to support the growing transportation equipment and aerospace industry in and around Plattsburgh and the entire North Country region.
The construction of a new air-cargo receiving and distribution center will allow existing manufacturers to transport their own materials, create jobs and attract new companies to the region, the Governor’s Office said.
Additionally, it said, the establishment of a new general aviation customs facility will expand international connectivity and allow foreign aircraft to use the North Country airport as a base of operations.
And a new multi-modal transportation facility will also improve mobility options for passengers and employees alike.
Local officials were ecstatic over the news.
North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said the award builds on the efforts of the county, with past funding support from Washington, D.C., and Albany, to develop passenger services at Plattsburgh International.
“Now it’s time to really begin the other side of the mission, which is aerospace and economic development, using the facilities and sites at Plattsburgh International to create jobs as part of our overall commitment to growing our Transportation Equipment and Aerospace Cluster,” he said.
“This major state investment will allow us to do just that, including the construction of new buildings and the rehab of existing ones to accommodate tenants, as well as building international general aviation with a Customs site, which will make us an airport of choice for Canadian pilots and others who now stop in Vermont and elsewhere for clearance and fuel.”
County Administrator Michael Zurlo said it is a monumental day for Clinton County.
“We continue to position our airport as a transportation and aerospace hub for the region. This holds the vision of the County Legislature when they decided to move the airport to the former base in 2007, and this should serve as a critical economic engine for everyone.”
Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Michael Cashman said he is pleased Cuomo continues work to lead New York on a path to a more promising economic future.
“The Plattsburgh airport project is key to driving economic development in the North Country and transforming the facility into a bustling transportation hub in the region,” he said. “And none of this would be possible without the support of our governor and the state.”
City of Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read said he hopes the funding will spur more development in the region, which will benefit all parties.
“What’s good for the town is good for the city, and what’s good for the city is good for the town because we are all in this together,” he said.
County Legislature Chairman Harry McManus (D-Area 1, Champlain) said the county put a great effort into obtaining the funding.
“The chamber and the Development Corp. put together a tremendous proposal that was transformational, and that is what the state was looking for,” he said.
“It really shows what you can do when everyone is on the same page in terms of priorities.”
McManus said he hopes the funding will help make the airport and the region a major player in the state and region in terms of economic growth.
“We believed that what we were doing out there at the airport would set us up for the next 100 years, and that’s what this will help us do,” he said.
“Everybody now knows where Clinton County is and that this is the place where things are happening.”
Robert Hall, chairman of the Clinton County Legislature’s Airport Committee, said the grant is the result of hard work from multiple sources at the county and economic development level.
“We couldn’t have asked for better news,” he said. “We put together a package that we thought was good to go, and we got the whole $38 million.”
State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) said the funding will help the North Country’s transportation and aerospace hub become a true bright spot for the state’s economy in the years to come.
“The cross-border trade we have with Canada is very good, as I discussed just yesterday in Albany with Canada’s Consul General Phyllis Yaffe,” she said Wednesday.
“Improving commerce near the border will no doubt help us all and further define our global relevance.
“I agree with the governor that the airport has the potential to be an economic driver. Additional state resources will complement the positive impact of investments already made.
“We have a chance to build on positive momentum and create more job opportunities. I want to see that happen.”
Assemblyman D. Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) said the county, the chamber and the Development Corporation largely deserve credit for securing the funding.
“I strongly believe that the North Country is a place that holds endless opportunities, and with this award it is clear that through collaboration and hard work, together we can create good-paying jobs for residents of the North Country while simultaneously creating economic prosperity for the region,” he said.
“Again, congratulations to all those involved in this tremendous project, and I look forward to working with them and hope to help in any way possible to ensure that the airport continues to grow into a strong and vital establishment.”