June 22, 2009

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Nearly $300,000 In Department of Transportation Funding Coming to Ithaca Tompkins for the Nation's First "Green" Airport Master Plan: $500,000 for Equipment

Funding Will Support Update of Airport’s Master Plan to Direct Future Expansion In An Environmentally Friendly Way; New Equipment Purchases

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the Department of Transportation (DOT) will provide a total of $790,135 to Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport through the Federal Aviation Administration. The first grant of $505,135 will fund new airplane de-icing equipment and other winter weather preparations, while a second grant of $285,000 will fund an update of the airport's master plan to provide a forecast of future expansion and development.  The master plan is the first "green" master plan for an airport in the country. 

"Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport is on the cutting edge of environmental sustainability in aviation," said Schumer. "With unemployment on the rise, green transportation spending like this will not only put people to work right away, but also lay the groundwork for future projects that will create construction jobs, boost demand for building materials and help our environment. New facilities and plans for Ithaca Tompkins are a step in the right direction, and I'm proud to support this funding."

"Innovation is the key to rebuilding our economy," Senator Gillibrand said. "This federal investment will help create jobs in the Southern Tier to jumpstart the economy immediately, and develop a ground-breaking ‘green' master plan to provide a model for long-term environmentally sustainable growth the entire state can follow. I will continue working with Senator Schumer and the entire Congressional Delegation to make sure New York gets its fair share from the federal government."

Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport serves both the city of Ithaca and Cornell University. With a single asphalt runway, it is also the only paved-runway airport in Tompkins County. After a drop-off in the late 1990s, traffic has grown significantly in recent years, with 182,260 passengers served in 2008 - a seven percent increase over the previous year. Since 2005, both Continental and Northwest Airlines have added routes at the airport, supplementing US Airways operations already in place.

The $505,135 grant will support the acquisition of aircraft de-icing equipment and snow plows, as well as the construction of a sand and chemical storage building and a handicap passenger lift. The $285,000 grant will fund the preparation of a new master plan for the airport, providing strategic direction for future expansion projects.