08.02.06

Schumer Announces $500,000 for Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport

Ithaca Airport will use the money to encourage new commercial air service to Detroit and existing service to LaGuardia, Philadelphia Federal Funds awarded as part of the Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) grantsSchumer aggressively lobbied Transportation Secretary to accept airports application

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced $500,000 in federal funds was awarded to Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The federal dollars come from the Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) Grants. The funds will be used to help the airport promote its services to passengers and offer inducements to new carriers. Schumer aggressively lobbied the Transportation Secretary in several letters over the past few years, urging his support of Ithacas application.

"This is great news for Ithaca, since its goal of this program is to improve air service and lower prices for residents in smaller communities," Schumer said. "One of the first things businesses look at when they consider moving to a new location is whether there are good air service options in the area. This will be a shot in the arm to the Southern Tier, and will help by promoting the airport to potential passengers and to new carriers as well." Ithaca Airport will use these federal funds to commence a comprehensive marketing campaign to promote new air service to Detroit and existing service to LaGuardia and Philadelphia. In his latest letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Minetta in April 2005, Schumer urged him to accept the airport's application for the SCASDP, explaining that bringing new carriers to the airport could lead to greatly improved air service and lower prices for Ithaca area residents.

In his letter, Schumer wrote, In addition to a sizable local population, there are two major universities, with over 30,000 students combined, within ten miles of the airport. Both Cornell University and Ithaca College are nationally ranked premier institutions whose students not only travel home several times a year, but also utilize the airport for vacations, research opportunities and job interviews. Faculty members at Cornell University and Ithaca College also travel the country, some on a weekly basis, to conduct research and give lectures. The reach of IthacaTompkins Regional Airport extends far beyond Ithaca because of its location within a reasonable driving distance from other communities and universities in the Finger Lakes Region and the Southern Tier."

DOT received more than 80 applications for the 37 spots to receive SCASDP grants, which is funded by an FY2005 Congressional appropriation of $20 million. Only those communities with insufficient air service or unreasonably high airfares are eligible to participate in the program. The law limits the eligibility to communities with small hubs and smaller airports. According to the legislation, DOT may use funds to provide assistance to implement measures considered appropriate to improve air service both in terms of the cost of such service to consumers and the availability of such service. For Ithaca Tompkins, the funding will not only be used for business development, but will help absorb some of the startup and transition costs for the airport during the first year of Northwest Airlines service.



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