Press-Republican

August 21, 2012

Bombardier to move forward with major expansion

Expansion project to cost nearly $25M

By DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Bombardier Transportation will move forward with a large expansion of its manufacturing facility in the City of Plattsburgh.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the project Monday afternoon. 

Bombardier was awarded $2.5 million as a priority project when the North Country Regional Economic Development Council announced it was to receive $103.2 million earlier this year for 70 funding requests. The entire expansion is expected to cost nearly $25 million.

The company plans to expand its main plant by 80,000 square feet and the nearby test facility by 2,100 square feet to accommodate longer cars and additional testing capacity, both of which will lead to increased efficiency, flexibility and capacity for new contracts, officials say. 

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said the Regional Council initiative gives globally-recognized companies like Bombardier the support they need to create jobs and get local economies back on track. 

“As a leader in transportation manufacturing, who recently signed a contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to manufacture 300 subway cars in Plattsburgh, Bombardier will now be able to ... better position themselves to meet the needs of its customers and compete in the national and international marketplace,” he said in a press release. “Empire State Development is pleased to play a role in this critical expansion project and continue to deliver on our promise of support for existing businesses like Bombardier.”

‘PREEMINENCE’

“The positive impact of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council continues to be felt across the region and the rest of New York state,” Cuomo said in a  press release. “With the support of a $2.5 million grant from the Regional Council, Bombardier Transportation is investing 10 times that amount in our state, creating and retaining nearly 400 jobs for the North Country.” 

Clarkson University President Tony Collins, co-chair of the council, said the announcement shows its positive across the North Country.

“Through public input and thoughtful evaluation of the region’s assets during the council’s planning process, the transportation equipment industry was identified as a key area to build regional strategies to support manufacturers to compete in the global marketplace,” he said. “Our transit-equipment manufacturers and talented workforce in this sector are well-positioned to demonstrate their preeminence and take full advantage of the global trends in transportation.”

‘SOLIDIFIES ROLE’

Bombardier has landed two major orders this year. The first was for 300 subway cars for New York City Transit and the second for as many as 775 metro cars for Bay Area Rapid Transit in San Francisco. If all options are picked up, the orders would be worth $599 million and up to $1.5 billion, respectively. 

North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas, the other council co-chair, said the announcement is an exciting commitment for the future of the North Country economy. 

“This will truly solidify our role as one of North America’s top centers for the production of 21st-century transportation equipment,” he said in the release. “We thank Bombardier for its continued confidence in our region, and we thank Gov. Cuomo for his direct support, including the creation of the Regional Council system which has allowed the North Country to identify priorities such as this for state investment.” 

Bombardier Transportation Plattsburgh plant General Manager Alan Aumais thanked the council for its support. 

“This step forward in the future of the Plattsburgh site gives Bombardier the added manufacturing capacity to meet the challenges of upcoming projects and deliver on our commitments to our customers,” he said. 

‘A GREAT PRODUCT’

State Sen. Betty Little said she is pleased the state and council are helping Bombardier expand. 

“They produce a great product and have secured numerous contracts to build Bombardier cars, keeping those high-quality jobs in the Plattsburgh area,” she said.

State Assemblywoman Janet Duprey said the council did a great job to ensure that this globally leading business continues to invest, grow and create jobs in the North Country. 

“Bolstering the manufacturing industry is key to building a stronger regional economy, and Bombardier is, and will continue to be, a major part of that industry,” she said. 

Mayor of Plattsburgh Donald Kasprzak said the strong partnership between Bombardier Transportation and the City of Plattsburgh has been in place for many years and is very important to the region. 

“The commitment and efforts by Governor Cuomo and the North Country Regional Economic Development Council in supporting and awarding Bombardier with a $2.5 million grant to strengthen its position in the transportation sector and to create new jobs in the North Country is very much appreciated,” he said in the release. “I am confident Bombardier will continue to be a solid presence in Plattsburgh for many years to come.”

The Plattsburgh facility opened in 1995 and nearly doubled capacity in 1997. It built a test track on the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base in 1999, and expanded that to more than 5,000 feet in 2001.

Email Dan Heath: dheath@pressrepublican.com