Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today awarded $22.1 million in funding to Albany International Airport as part of a $42.1 million project to modernize the facility. The grant funding is part of the $200 million Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, first announced by Governor Cuomo in his 2016 State of the State Address and later passed in the 2017 state budget.
To complement the State’s investment in Albany airport, Governor Cuomo also announced a $50 million project to construct a new highway connector between the airport and the Adirondack Northway (I-87) in the Town of Colonie, Albany County, to ease traffic congestion and provide a more direct route to the airport. The airport connector project is funded by Governor Cuomo’s $100 billion Infrastructure Renewal Plan.
“Albany International Airport is a gateway to the Capital Region, and this modernization project will help maximize economic development and tourism opportunities for generations to come,” Governor Cuomo said. “Airports are the front doors to our communities, and these investments in the future of upstate airports are providing new jobs and helping attract new residents, businesses and visitors in every region of the state.”
“Airports across the state are being transformed with investments to support needed improvements and expansion of transportation services,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This announcement of significant funding for Albany Airport will make travel to and from the airport easier and quicker, and provide resources to help modernize the airport with new parking and terminal enhancements. This announcement builds off our commitment to upgrade infrastructure in communities and create economic development and tourism opportunities with better and safer transportation options for New Yorkers and people worldwide.”
Under the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, the State called upon airports to submit plans that:
- Stimulate regional economic activity, job creation and business attraction
- Increase aircraft, gate, baggage and parking capacity and access;
- Build state-of-the-art passenger amenities and security measures;
- Include innovative design concepts and promote public-private partnerships with the ability to get it done quickly; and
- Incorporate sustainable building and renewable energy technologies.
Modernizing Albany International Airport
Albany International Airport’s main terminal was built in 1962 and underwent its last significant renovation in 1998. About 1.4 million people a year board planes at the airport, which has an outdated appearance and limited parking. The airport redesign includes:
- New Parking Garage — The project will construct a 1,000-unit, multi-level parking garage, expanding airport parking capacity by 20 percent. The pre-cast concrete garage will provide a heated pedestrian walkway to the airport terminal. Energy-efficient LED lights will illuminate that bridge, enhancing visibility as well as vehicular and pedestrian safety.
- Parking Access Improvements — The project will install new LED electronic signage, car counting devices, and interactive access control devices that utilize advanced GPS technology to locate available parking spaces and provide wayfinding messages that direct motorists to them. The existing parking system is nearly 20 years old and its electronic controls are in disrepair.
- Terminal Rehabilitation and Passenger Amenities – The project will rehabilitate the terminal, including escalators, restrooms, waiting rooms and the food court. Improvements will include new carpets, wall finishes, tile floors, energy-efficient lighting fixtures and better Internet connectivity.
Renderings of the new airport are available here.
The State is awarding the airport $22.1 million for the plan. Albany International Airport has secured all additional funding for a total project cost of $42.1 million.
Albany Airport Connector at Exit 4
Complementing the modernization effort is the New York State Department of Transportation project that will construct an Albany Airport Connector at Exit 4 of the Adirondack Northway (Interstate 87) in the Town of Colonie, Albany County. The project will provide direct access to Albany International Airport from the Northway and support the Capital Region’s extraordinary growth in the education, technology and pharmaceutical sectors.
NYSDOT is accelerating the project, initially scheduled to start next spring, and will be advertising for construction bids this week with the project expected to get underway this fall. The project is scheduled to be completed by late 2020. Funding for the anticipated $50 million project was included in Governor Cuomo’s $100 billion Infrastructure Renewal Plan.
The project will reconfigure the Exit 4 interchange by creating a flyover for northbound Northway traffic. The new ramp will travel over the Northway, loop behind and to the west of the Desmond Hotel and come to a new T-intersection with Albany-Shaker Road, close to the airport. For southbound traffic on the Northway, a new off-ramp will be built to travel behind the Desmond Hotel and connect to a flyover ramp that will lead to the new intersection.
Project plans also call for a new, direct on-ramp from Route 155 (Watervliet-Shaker Road) at Exit 5 to the southbound Northway, eliminating the need for the existing frontage ramp off the southbound side of the highway.
On the northbound side, the on-ramp adjacent to the Times Union building will be extended all the way to Exit 5 for Route 155, creating a longer auxiliary lane that will make it easier for drivers to merge onto the northbound Northway and to depart the highway at Exit 5. A noise wall is planned to be built on the northbound side between Exits 4 and 5. The project will also convert the existing northbound Exit 4 off-ramp to allow for right-turn only maneuvers onto Wolf Road.
For travelers heading to the airport from the northbound Northway, the project will eliminate the need to travel through two additional traffic lights. For southbound Northway travelers, the project will eliminate the need to travel through one additional traffic light. Crash rates and travel times are expected to decrease as a result.
The project will also enhance connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists by providing sidewalks on the south side of Albany Shaker Road between the connector road and Wolf Road as well as a shared use path between the Albany International Airport and the connector road.
Construction of the airport connector road also will free up large tracts of commercially zoned parcels forcommercial redevelopment and improvement by the private sector.
An estimated 40,000 motor vehicles per day use Exit 4 at the Northway and an estimated 102,000 motor vehicles travel over Albany-Shaker Road at that location daily.
In October 2015, the Department of Transportation completed a $22.3 million project to replace the bridges carrying the Northway over Albany-Shaker Road. This was the first of two phases of work planned at Exit 4. The 2015 project replaced two bridges that were built as part of the original Northway construction in 1959.
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Accessible, modern airports can help spur regional economic development and growth, and these investments in Albany International Airport will pay dividends for decades to come.”
New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said, “All over the Empire State, Governor Cuomo has made investments in transportation a priority as part of his economic development strategy. This project will transform Albany International Airport and make getting to it faster and easier, reducing delays and emissions while enhancing the quality of life for travelers in the Capital Region.”
Congressman Paul Tonko said, “The Albany County Airport is a feather in the cap of our region. Getting to and from the airport should be easy, safe and efficient. Unfortunately, the current design is less than ideal. I applaud the Governor’s announcement today to make it easier to get to the airport while reducing congestion. This project is yet another example of the importance of securing federal resources in Washington to enable smart growth in our local communities. I excitedly anticipate the airport’s continued growth and service to our region’s families, businesses and visitors.”
Senator Neil Breslin said, “Having a modern airport is critical to a regions economic wellbeing. These improvements to Albany International Airport along with the noted infrastructure improvements in and around the airport are critical to this effort. I applaud Governor Cuomo and the New York State Department of Transportation for their commitment to the Capital Regions economy.”
Assemblyman Phil Steck said, “I thank the Governor and NYSDOT for expediting this project, which has long been sought by our Chamber of Commerce. Investing in our infrastructure is critical to moving our community forward and will not only benefit the airport, but improve traffic flow in the entire surrounding area. This is a very valuable addition to the entire Capital Region.”
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, “As a growing number of people choose to live in Albany County and travel through our airport, we must continue to invest in and modernize one of the Capital Region’s greatest assets. I am proud to partner with Governor Cuomo on this transformational project that will reduce traffic congestion in the area, improve the safety and security of critical infrastructure and further enhance the overall travel experience of residents and tourists alike.”
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, “Once again, Governor Cuomo has delivered big for the Capital Region. These investments demonstrate the Governor’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that regions across the state have the infrastructure necessary to attract investment, create jobs, and build vibrant communities.”
Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan said, “I am delighted by Governor Cuomo’s announcement to provide funding for improved access and modernization of the Albany International Airport. The new connector road will not only benefit those whose destination is the airport but will also improve traffic flow on Wolf Road and Albany Shaker Road. The Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization project will benefit all who travel through the town and make the airport a first class destination for travelers.”
Capital Region Chamber President and CEO Mark Eagan said, “Kudos to Governor Cuomo and the legislature. The Albany International Airport is a major economic driver for the greater Capital Region. The resources allocated from the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition are key to making sure our airport is positioned well for decades to come. The redesign of Exit 4 will increase safety, increase mobility and provide the proper gateway to and from our airport and region.”
Albany County Airport Authority CEO John O’Donnell said, “Governor Andrew Cuomo’s statewide airport initiative demonstrates a strong commitment to enhance Albany International Airport’s travel experience through improved passenger accessibility, new way-finding and modern communication technology. The addition of a new state-of-the-art parking plaza will meet the current and future demands for enclosed parking. Together these improvements will be welcomed by our passengers, our current airlines and by those airlines seeking to launch new air service in the Capital Region.”
Jeff Stark, President, Greater Capital Region Building Trades Council, said, “The transformation of the Albany Airport is welcome news for Albany, our economy, and for the hard working men and women in the capital region who will work on this airport reconstruction project. On behalf of the 22,000 members of the Greater Capital Region Building Trades Council, I applaud Governor Cuomo’s initiative, and look forward to seeing a new, revitalized Albany airport up and running.”
About the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition
The Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization competition calls on Upstate airports to envision the airport of tomorrow as the new gateway to the region. The Competition builds upon the success of Governor Cuomo’s Master Plan Design Competition for LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy Airports, as well as the transformative efforts already underway at several downstate regional airports. An additional $10 million is being allocated through the Governor’s Aviation Capital Grant Program, which supports safety, infrastructure, and economic development projects at smaller airports across the state.
The Competition is administered by the New York State Department of Transportation. It is open to all owners of upstate public-use airports that provide or propose to provide scheduled commercial passenger air and/or cargo service. Funding for this competition was included in the five-year Department of Transportation Capital Plan. To be considered for this investment opportunity, eligible applicants were required to submit an initial project proposal detailing the scope, schedule and costs for the proposed project or program of projects. Project proposals were reviewed by a panel of industry experts.
Governor Cuomo’s Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition includes awards to Elmira Corning Regional Airport, the Greater Rochester International Airport, Plattsburgh International Airport, Syracuse Hancock International Airport, and Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. The bold plans and designs developed by these airports will enhance safety, improve operations and access, reduce environmental impact, and create a better passenger experience.