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Transportation Committee Recommends Acceptance of State Airport Grant

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Transportation Committee Recommends Acceptance of State Airport Grant

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Legislature’s special Transportation Committee today endorsed the Legislature’s acceptance of the $14.2 million Upstate Airport Development Grant recently awarded by New York State.  The measure, recommended without dissent by the committee, would accept the award and commit the County to accepting full responsibility for all additional project costs.

The project, with total cost initially projected two years ago at just over $22 million, will expand the terminal by approximately one-third, update terminal systems, and enhance security, as well as construct a federal customs inspection facility.  The solar-powered airport will employ a new geothermal heat pump system, with solar covered parking constructed as part of the project.

In a detailed presentation to the committee, Airport Director Mike Hall reported that current 2018 cost projections have increased estimated total cost to $24.7 million, which would increase the projected local share to $10.5 million (from $7.8 million).  Director Hall said $2.5 million in Airport revenue, from federal sources and the Airport fund balance, is already committed, and that the remaining $8 million County obligation can be supported through pending potential grant proceeds and financing based on Airport passenger facility charges.

The measure will be considered by the full Legislature June 5th.

Also today, the Transportation Committee heard from local taxi company operators, as the first step of its review of ride-hailing services in Tompkins County, nearly a year after upstate operation of services such as UBER and LYFT were authorized by New York State.  Representatives of Ithaca Dispatch and Collegetown Cab companies spoke with the committee, observing that the ride-hailing services have typically concentrated their service near the college campuses, especially in the high-volume late week/weekend periods.  They expressed some concern about what they see as uneven service, artificially increased rates, and an “uneven playing field” when it comes to competition between the ride-hailing services and traditional cab companies.  The committee’s review will continue next month.