Press-Republican

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October 3, 2013

Clinton County goes ahead with airport expansion plans

(Continued)

PLATTSBURGH —

“It appears to me that the option of fully building out the airport makes more sense,” John Gallagher (D-Area 9, City of Plattsburgh) said.

Gallagher added that if the Legislature decided not to do the largest expansion now, costs would go way up for another expansion in a few years.

Sara Rowden (D-Area 4, Town of Plattsburgh), who chairs the Finance Committee, said the expansion design plan will allow for even more growth down the road if it is necessary.

Jonathan Beach (R-Area 2, Altona) said that with the prospect of a hotel being built at the nearby former Alert Facility property, the airport seems poised to continue its growth.

“Let’s go for the gold,” Beach said.

To pay for the expansion, the county will use the $4.50 fee that is attached to each ticket sold at the airport. It will also use revenue from parking.

Parking fees will go up from $5 per day for short term and $7 per day for long term to $8 per day for all vehicles.

Using that model, the airport should bring in a surplus of $23.2 million by 2030, which will pay for operating expenses.

Mark Dame (R-Area 8, City and Town of Plattsburgh) said what convinced him to support the major expansion was the fact that it will be paid for without using taxpayer money.

“That’s the deal maker for me,” he said.

Robert Heins (R-Area 10, City of Plattsburgh), who chairs the Airport Committee, said the expansion will help the county market more airlines.

“We have no room to grow now so we have to do something like this to bring in more carriers,” Heins said.

“This will help the entire region, not just Clinton County. We will be bringing in people from Essex and Franklin counties as well as Quebec and I think we will all see the benefits of that.”

Work on the expansion is expected to get underway next spring and will take about a year.

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

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