By GREGORY ZELLER //
Three Long Island airports will receive some much-needed infrastructure and safety improvements through a $20.5 million state spending package announced Monday.
Suffolk County-owned Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Southampton will receive $995,000 to put toward a new air traffic control tower, the Town of Islip’s Long Island MacArthur Airport will receive $960,000 to offset the purchase of an 800-kilowatt diesel-powered generator and Brookhaven-Calabro Airport will get $54,722 for a new crack-sealing machine.
The three Long Island stipends, which total just over $2 million, and the rest of the $18 million-plus in funding comes through the New York State Department of Aviation’s Aviation Capital Grant Program. This funding round covered 29 projects in all and included roughly $10 million from the $200 million Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, which was designed to support smaller airports.
Calling New York’s community airports “the front door to the Empire State,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the funding announced Monday will improve safety, encourage private investments and help create and sustain good-paying aeronautics-industry jobs across the state.
“We will invest in these regional gateways to provide the best and safest travel opportunities for everyone,” Cuomo said Monday. “Modernizing our airports and transforming them into state-of-the-art transit hubs will keep New York competitive in today’s global economy.”
The largest regional payment this funding round went to the Finger Lakes region, which received roughly $4.97 million for six different projects, including $1.49 million for a new general aviation terminal at Canandaigua Airport.
The smallest chunk of change went to a single project in the Southern Tier: $448,200 to construct a helicopter maintenance and storage hangar at Corning-Painted Post Airport.
The state DOT “will immediately begin to work with airport-project sponsors on the delivery of the planned improvements,” according to the governor’s office.
State Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore), co-chairman of the New York Legislative Aviation Caucus, commended Albany for “recognizing the importance of investing in these transportation hubs.”
“By investing in the future of aviation travel, our local communities and small businesses will reap the benefits of an increase in flights and passengers, and will keep New York economically competitive with neighboring states,” Boyle said in a statement.