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Senator Chuck Schumer Launches Push to Secure $10 Million Federal Grant to Complete Major Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport Overhaul

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> Senator Chuck Schumer Launches Push to Secure $10 Million Federal Grant to Complete Major Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport Overhaul

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Senator Chuck Schumer Launches Push to Secure $10 Million Federal Grant to Complete Major Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport Overhaul

Friday, February 8, 2019

Senator Chuck Schumer was at Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport today to pledge support for the ITH renovation project.  With the first phase underway, Schumer launches a major push to secure $10M to get Phase 2 off the ground.

A news release from the Senator's office is republished below:
 

Standing at the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer launched a major push to secure a $10 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP) to complete critical upgrades to the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. Schumer said that the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport is undergoing a major modernization and expansion effort, which will help transform it into a nationally recognized airport with world-class facilities, as well as a gateway for travelers throughout the Southern Tier and to destinations across the country and around the globe.

Schumer called on the FAA to immediately give full and fair consideration to its application for grant funding and pledged his full support for the vital project.  Schumer said that the project is well on its way, with New York State funding the first phase of this project: a full reconstruction of the entrance to the terminal building. Now, Schumer is fighting to secure $10 million in funding through the federal AIP for Phase 2: the construction of a post-security arrival/departure concourse and new jet bridges. Schumer explained that this federal funding is essential to bring the project to fruition, and that it must be delivered expeditiously, to keep the project on track. Federal funding will allow the airport to increase in size and capabilities, and also support improvements to the terminal building, the backbone of the airport. According to Schumer, these key upgrades would have a transformative impact on Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, enabling it to offer new and upgraded services, and to attract new carriers and destinations.

"A modernized and expanded airport will be a significant economic driver for Ithaca, Tompkins County and the Southern Tier. That’s why I am calling on the FAA to approve the airport’s application for a $10 million grant from the Airport Improvement Program, which will get the second phase of this much-needed project off the ground. This ambitious and worthy plan will bring the airport into the 21st century by expanding and upgrading the terminal building and other facilities. The state has given this effort a boost and now it's time for the feds do their part, support this critical project, ensuring its completion can be done in a timely manner,” said Senator Schumer. “The time is now for the federal government to step in and be a partner in the community’s efforts to lead Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport down the runway to success. A modernized and well-appointed facility will be just the thing to help the economy of the Southern Tier to takeoff, and I’m here to tell you that I’ll do everything in my power to make that happen.”

Schumer explained that the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport has recently undertaken a major modernization effort. In the last year, the airport has executed critical repairs to its airfield, including repairing and improving runways, lighting, and safety areas. However, while these improvements were taking place, passenger accommodations, including the outdated terminal building, lagged behind. To build on its past successes and remain competitive, Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport leadership, in collaboration with community stakeholders, launched a multi-phase project to renovate and improve the terminal building and additional facilities in the airport. In total, this project would significantly increase the size of the facility, from 33,000 square feet to 50,500 square feet, and include the construction of a new federal customs facility as well as the addition of six new gates at the airport.

Schumer explained that Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport is a smart investment for the federal government to make, as the airport is growing in response to economic activity in the region and a new facility will help ensure its continued success and help sustain economic growth. Schumer noted that enplanements are up, and in the last year, new routes and services, including United Airlines service to Washington D.C.-Dulles, and American Airlines to Charlotte, NC have been added.

“Business at the airport has taken off, people are choosing to fly Ithaca Tompkins Regional, and carriers are taking notice. These federal funds will go a long way to create a world-class facility right here in Tompkins County that will encourage continued growth. With a new and improved facility, the sky is the limit,” Schumer said. 

Schumer highlighted the important role Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport plays in the region’s economy. As a leader in the region’s economy, Tompkins County is a draw for tourists, academics, and business people. And added that the region is home to internationally renowned educational institutions, major employers in the high-technology, healthcare and automotive industry components production sectors.

Schumer added that, “All of these regional institutions rely on the connectivity afforded by reliable and varied air service for the viability of their endeavors and success in the region, making a robust and modernized airport essential to Tompkins County’s economic vitality.” Schumer further noted that, with an annual contribution of over $3.1B in economic output, it is imperative that every effort is made to ensure these entities remain competitive and continue to thrive.

"Partnerships are key to making good things happen. I am hopeful we will be able to leverage the State’s support with partnership from the federal government, to ensure completion of this important and exciting expansion of the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. We're so grateful to Senator Schumer for his support of this critical project," said Martha Robertson, Chairwoman of the Tompkins County Legislature.

“We value the Federal Aviation Administration as a key partner in preserving and enhancing valuable air service through ITH to serve our globally-focused community.  We are hopeful to receive this Federal funding which is critical to the completion of the Ithaca Airport revitalization project,” said Jason Molino, Tompkins County Administrator.

“The $25M expansion and renovation of the Ithaca Tompkins Airport is essential to maintaining and growing the strongest, most globally connected and diverse economy in Upstate New York.  We thank Senator Schumer for his support and diligent effort to secure the federal portion of this project,” said Mike Hall, Director of the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport.

Senator Schumer has long been an advocate for Upstate air service and for Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport in particular. Previously, he successfully fought to secure millions of dollars in federal funding from the Department of Transportation for various projects at the airport including a new boarding bridge to accommodate the increased patronage of the airport, acquiring snow removal and emergency vehicles, and securing critical Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) funding to aid in the airport’s ability to market and promote new service options, ensuring their success. Senator Schumer also played a leading role in securing a new high-technology baggage screening system from the TSA that replaced the previously used manual bag-check system. Schumer explained that Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport hosts 270 flights per month, with three major airlines offering three flights per day. Additionally, the airport serves roughly 105,000 passengers every year.