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Legislature Authorizes Consultant Agreements for Airport Project, Hears Economic Impact Report

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Legislature Authorizes Consultant Agreements for Airport Project, Hears Economic Impact Report

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Legislature, without dissent (Legislator Shawna Black was excused), authorized two Supplemental Agreements with C&S Companies, of Syracuse, related to the Airport expansion project , both funded as part of the NYS DOT Upstate Airport Initiative grant:  a total of $2,280,000 for design and bidding services, and construction phase services for Phase 2 of the Airport project; and $200,000 for design and bidding services for the General Aviation US Customs Facility that is part of the Airport project. 

At the beginning of the meeting, seven people addressed the Legislature voicing serious concern about the Airport project, advocating termination of the project citing environmental grounds and protection of immigrant residents, and calling for a moratorium on the Customs facility.  While some called for changes now in the Customs Facility Memorandum of Agreement, County Administrator Jason Molino said that a copy of the proposed document has not yet been received and the process would not begin until the facility is 80-85% complete.  “The most important part is our ability to terminate it,” he said.

At the Legislature’s request, Airport Director Mike Hall made a presentation to the Legislature regarding economic impact of the Airport, prepared by Tompkins County Area Development.  Regarding the direct economic impact of the Airport capital project, Director Hall cited a one-year impact of $30 million in capital investment, creation of 190 union construction jobs, and a calculated $22 million in additional economic activity and wages.  For the longer term, the Director described the Airport as a tool for economic development.  “We are critical to our important start-up businesses,” he said.  TCAD projects entrepreneurial business growth and development supported by ITH as $160 million in capital investment, creation of 475 short-term jobs and 2,400 new jobs, and $190 million in wages over the next ten years.

Regarding the Customs facility, Director Hall noted that what the Airport will have stationed here is a customs inspector, not a border patrol agent.  The impact of a customs inspector is minimal, he said, and will be controlled.  With the County reimbursing the salary of the Customs inspector and providing an office, if dissatisfied the Legislature could decide to simply stop paying.  “I believe there is an extreme degree of control in this body,” he said.