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Griffiss International Airport receives federal grants for upgrades, re-admitted to Military Airport Program

By WKTV News

ROME, N.Y. - Griffiss International Airport will be re-admitted to the Military Airport Program (MAP) with a grant worth $270,000 in MAP funding to renovate hangars and make them more energy efficient, U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced on Wednesday.

The airport will also receive a second federal grant worth $475,200 from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to help plan long-term upgrades to the airport.

"After much effort, we succeeded at keeping Griffiss Airport in the Map Program, and this will keep critical investment flowing spur the improvements and upgrade needed to make the airport a magnet for economic growth," said Schumer. "We lobbied, cajoled and persuaded the FAA and Administrator Huerta and our efforts paid off, paving the way for multi-year funding that I know Oneida County will put to good use, and will support the exciting growth of our growing cyber-security and high-tech sector, as well as our established businesses and regional tourist attractions."

"The Griffiss Airport is not only a critical tool to for our military and cybersecurity industries, but is an integral part of the Mohawk Valley economy," said Senator Gillibrand, who met personally with Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to advocate for Griffiss. "With additional federal investment, the airport could accommodate more passengers and attract new airlines, while providing additional space for new and expanding companies. Griffiss provides an important link to the rapidly expanding technology and cybersecurity sector locally, which is vital to the economic development of the region." "As I said last week, we are very pleased that Griffiss International Airport has been redesignated in the FAA's Military Airport Program because reopen the door for FAA grant dollars to continue to fund the redevelopment of the airfield," said Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. "Our Congressional delegation has worked very hard on the legislation that allowed that to happen. And now the effort for funding that has been led by Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand has reached its first success. We will be receiving close to $750,000.00 to fund the design of the reconstruction of our two remaining Nose Docks as well as re-creating a new and fresh ten year Master Plan. We thank the Senators for staying on course and continuing to advocate for Griffiss and we remain positive and hopeful that the 2013 appropriations will contain funding for our new passenger terminal."

The grant funding through the DOT's MAP program will be used to rehabilitate hangars 785 and 786, providing approximately 28,000 square-feet of functional, energy efficient hangar space - meeting current building codes. The additional $475,200 grant will be used to update the airport's master plan to help identify future needs, including a Geographic Information System survey. Previously, Griffiss Airport participated in MAP, and Oneida County had been able to spend $40 million to date on improvements to the airport with MAP funding. With the creation of additional slots in the recent FAA Reauthorization bill, Griffiss' re-entry into the program makes the airport eligible for additional federal investment, which would bolster economic development in the region, including construction jobs, military jobs and other employment opportunities. Future MAP funding would help construct a new terminal, freeing up currently occupied space in one of the largest hangar buildings to allow existing companies and the military to expand. The new terminal would help Griffiss attract new airlines to accommodate additional passengers. Griffiss Business and Technology Park tenants include the Air Force Research Laboratory, Northeast Air Defense Sector, Assured Information Security, Premier Aviation, and Defense Finance Accounting Service among others, which could benefit from a new terminal as a result of being included in the MAP Program.

Earlier this year, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer stood at Griffiss to announce that the recently passed Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill would boost Griffiss Airport's chance of securing federal Military Airport Program (MAP) funding, along with his push to redesignate Griffiss as a (GA) slot eligible for MAP. The Military Airport Program (MAP) uses federal funds to convert former military airports to civilian or joint-use airports. MAP funding, a set-aside of the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), provides a boost to civilian aviation capacity by upgrading former military airports. A total of 15 airports may participate in the program at any one time, but previously only a single 'general aviation' airport could receive funding. The FAA reauthorization bill now allows up to three general aviation airports to receive funding at a given time. Airports may be selected or reselected to receive financial assistance for up to five years. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand both wrote to FAA Acting Administrator Michael P. Huerta advocating for Griffiss' re-entry in the MAP program.

Senator Gillibrand's letter is below:

Dear Acting Administrator Huerta:

I write to express my support for returning Griffiss Airport to the Military Airport Program (MAP). After extensive work in passing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act (Public Law 111-226), and insuring the inclusion of three addition General Aviation (GA) slots form the MAP program, I would urge FAA to strongly consider Griffiss airport for one of newly created slots.

As the former site of Griffiss Air Force Base, which closed in 1995, Griffiss now serves as a General Aviation (GA) Airport in Oneida County and would be a prime candidate for MAP funding. These funds would aid Griffiss in reducing current and projected flight delays and fulfill the core function of the MAP program. As you may be aware, the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Bill, which was recently signed into law, included a provision which will allow up to three general aviation airports to participate in the FAA's Military Airport Program. In the most recent MAP finding cycle Griffiss International Airport was displaced for funding, however with the addition of two slots I am confident that Griffiss would be a worthy candidate for MAP funding. I would urge FAA to strongly consider Griffiss for MAP funding for one of the newly created GA slots.

Thank you for your consideration and attention to this important matter. For additional information, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington office at 202-224-6542.

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