NY Aviation Grant Program Backs Gabreski Upgrade

Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach is among the aerodromes receiving airport-focused capital-improvement funds from Albany this week.

A total of $10 million has been awarded for airport projects across the state through the state’s Aviation Capital Grant Program, which supports airport-based safety, infrastructure and economic development efforts.

The $10 million will be split among 20 airport applicants selected through a competitive bidding process. That includes Gabreski Airport, which is receiving $70,000 to cover the purchase of a “self-propelled airport marking vehicle,” according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

In a statement announcing the awards, Cuomo called the state’s airports “key drivers of job creation and economic growth.”

“These improvements will help make our airports safer and more accessible to millions of travelers,” Cuomo said, adding the $10 million investment will ensure the 20 airports “remain viable transportation hubs and economic engines for years to come.”

The largest stipend is going to Elmira Corning Regional Airport in Chemung County, which will use $1 million to relocate an existing fuel farm. Other sizeable investments are being made at Dutchess County Airport ($889,650 for passenger-terminal renovations) and Orange County Airport ($882,000 to construct a corporate storage hangar).

The smallest stipend is earmarked for Fulton County Airport, which is receiving $13,500 to support energy-efficient upgrades at airport facilities.

Other projects in the $10 million package include control-tower upgrades at Schenectady County Airport ($197,000), installation of a jet-fuel facility and existing fuel-system upgrades at Cortland County’s Chase Field ($490,500) and construction of a new hangar at Canandaigua Airport in Ontario County ($720,000).

Funding for the $70,000 airport marking vehicle – used to mark runways, taxiways and other critical routes for air and ground vehicles – is the latest bit of good news for Suffolk County-owned Gabreski Airport, where Plainview-based Rechler Equity Partners is constructing the Hamptons Business District, a 50-acre commercial park focused on tech and biotech enterprises.

The Aviation Capital Grant Program’s $10 million investment is expected to leverage another $8.7 million in private and local funding, according to the governor’s office. This funding is in addition to the $200 million Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization competition, which was included in Cuomo’s 2016-17 budget plan.

The upstate competition is currently soliciting proposals to promote, revitalize and accelerate private investments in commercial passenger and cargo service airports. The initiative – which according to the governor’s office “builds upon the success of Gov. Cuomo’s Master Plan Design Competition for LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports” – will award capital funding for at least five projects, with maximum project awards capped at $40 million.