08.18.21

SCHUMER REVEALS: $28 MILLION INVESTMENT IN BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE BILL WOULD KICK-START EXPANSION FOR ALBANY AIRPORT & SEND REGION INTO NEW HEIGHTS; SCHUMER-NEGOTIATED DEAL WOULD DELIVER HISTORIC $$$ FOR CAPITAL REGION INFRASTRUCTURE, CREATE GOOD-PAYING JOBS & HELP REGIONAL ECONOMY TAKE OFF

Fed Funds Schumer Just Included In Bipartisan Infrastructure Package Could Revitalize Capital Region’s Infrastructure – Including New Airport Expansion – Supporting New Jobs & Fueling Local Economy 

Schumer Secured Over $28M For Albany International – The Capital Region’s Hub – In Addition To Billions More For Other Capital Region Infrastructure Projects 

Schumer: Infrastructure Investment Would Lift Capital Region To Soaring Heights 

A week after the Schumer-negotiated bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in the Senate, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer visited Albany International Airport to announce that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA) includes over $28 million in federal funding for the region’s hub.

The funding will help Albany International Airport to address an expansion of the main terminal to better accommodate the TSA security screening, eliminate passenger line backups that often stretch into the pedestrian walkway to the parking garage. The main terminal was built in 1998, before the September 11, 2001 attacks necessitated the installation of the TSA security checkpoint. Expanding the terminal in that area, will provide more space for the security operation and alleviate the crowding and discomfort that can occur in the current limited space. In addition, the airport is interested in improving the air filtration system in the main terminal, improving and expanding their cargo operation, to better serve the growing e-commerce market as well as local manufacturers, and create a new maintenance hangar to address growing demand from general aviation aircraft.

“This isn’t just small peanuts for Albany International. A modern and well-maintained airport means the continued success of the community and the entire region,” said Senator Schumer. “Transportation connections to the wider world are essential for community development and economic opportunity, and I was proud to have secured this funding for Albany International in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Not only would the $28 million I fought for, provide ample funding to kick-start much-needed renovations and maintenance work, but it will also be a major boon for the regional economy by creating good-paying construction jobs and inviting economic opportunity into the Capital Region. This infrastructure investment will help the region take off after the COVID pandemic.”

Albany International served over 1.5 million passengers in 2019, the year before the outbreak of COVID, last year that number fell to just over 520,000. In previous COVID relief bills, Schumer secured a collective $33 million for the airport, which was critical to keep every employee working and keeping facilities open during the pandemic when passenger count was down as much as 98% compared to pre-pandemic numbers. The funding announced today will allow for Albany International to begin new infrastructure projects that will improve passenger experience, now that enplanements are returning to pre-COVID numbers.

Additional details on funding for airports included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are as follows:

  • $15 billion in formula funding for FAA Airport Infrastructure Grants which supports Airport Improvement Program (“AIP”) projects, such as runways and taxiways, as well as terminal development projects, multimodal, or airport-owned towers. This funding provides flexibility for airports such as Albany International to address their specific airside or landside needs.
  • $5 billion for FAA’s Facilities and Equipment Program, which includes funding for FAA-owned Air Traffic Control facilities and contract towers.
  • $5 billion in grants for a new Airport Terminal Improvement Program, which includes set asides for small hub airports, nonhub, and nonprimary airports, ensuring airports in communities of all sizes benefit.

“The passage of this infrastructure package in the US Senate today is proof that bipartisanship isn’t dead in Washington and that Senate Majority Leader Schumer continues to deliver for Albany County and the entire state of New York. This historic funding will deliver billions of dollars to our nation’s roads, bridges, and airports, and will invest in our electric vehicle infrastructure and high-speed internet access,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “I’ve been proud to advocate for this initiative among my fellow local leaders as President of the County Executives of America, and I urge the House to pass the bill and send it to President Biden’s desk.”

“As Chairman of the Albany Airport Authority Board, I want to extend my gratitude to Senate Majority Leader Schumer for fighting for Upstate New York and prioritizing this funding that would help us continue making transformative improvements to Albany International Airport. As demand for air travel continues to surge across the country amid an ongoing pandemic, it’s critical that we continue to support our key infrastructure that creates a safe and enjoyable experience for Capital Region residents and visitors alike. I’m hopeful that the House of Representatives will approve this bipartisan spending bill,” said Samuel A. Fresina, Chairman of the Albany County Airport Authority Board and President of the New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association.

“We are grateful to Senator Schumer for his unceasing effort to ensure the revitalization of the nation’s infrastructure and his commitment to the Albany International Airport and air travel in New York State,” said Philip Calderone, CEO of the Albany County Airport Authority. “We have established a defined working plan for the effective use and maximum regional impact of Albany International Airport’s portion of the infrastructure funding. Our top priority will be to extend the second level of the terminal to enable the expansion of the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint and to provide additional elevators and queuing space for travelers. In addition, we are planning for the expansion of the Airport’s cargo facility to accommodate a projected increase in local shipments and on-line purchases. We also envision the construction of a new and much needed aircraft hangar to house the Airport’s growing fleet of large, private jet aircraft.”

Schumer also detailed other wins for the Capital Region that were included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

For mass transit, the bill includes approximately $113.9 million for the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) over the next 5 years. CDTA estimates that their annual allotment over the previous 5 years has been $21.2 million and under the bipartisan infrastructure bill that would increase to $27.1 million, roughly a 30% increase. In addition, the infrastructure deal has $8 billion for the programs that have funded CDTA’s Bus Rapid Transit initiatives. The Red and Blue, BRT lines are in service, but Schumer will continue to work with the CDTA to secure the funding needed to implement the Purple Line along the Washington and Western corridor. Additionally, the bill includes over $5.6 billion for clean buses. CDTA currently has four electric buses in service, with four more on order, and an ultimate goal of 25% of their fleet.

Amtrak would receive $16 billion for operations outside of the Northeast Corridor, including upstate New York’s Empire Service.  $688 million of this pot is dedicated for new train sets to serve the Empire line.

The bill also includes $13.5 billion for highway and formula bridge funding, and an additional $12.5 billion for a competitive bridge program that states and localities can apply to. The nine county Capital Region has approximately 190 bridges deemed to be in ‘poor’ condition that would qualify for funding so repair can begin ASAP. For the first time, the bill also creates the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program which provides $1 billion in competitive grants for planning and projects to remove, retrofit, or mitigate existing highways that were built through neighborhoods and created a barrier to mobility and economic development. The popular RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) grants, formerly known as BUILD or TIGER, fund transportation projects of national and regional significance and are funded in the bill at $7.5 billion over five years. The INFRA (Infrastructure for Rebuilding America) grant program, another competitive program that funds transportation projects with a strong connection to improving freight operations, is funded at $3.2 billion.

The region could also receive a sizable portion of the over $20 billion devoted for the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds, including a carve out within the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to replace lead service lines in communities like the Capital Region.

Finally, New York would also expected to receive $175 million over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network in the state, and the ability to apply for the $2.5 billion in competitive EV charging grants.

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