Elmira Corning Airport project budget hike reaction

News

Chemung County Legislatures held a meeting today authorizing an awarded bid to Streeter Associates, Inc. They will work on the Terminal Tower Rehabilitation Project, the last phase of Terminal Revitalization Construction on behalf of the Elmira Corning Regional Airport.  

Exterior work on the traffic control tower will cost about $1 million. Some of the features will include new windows and a lighted sign showing the airport’s name. 

The project began in late 2016 and is targeted to finish at the end of October. 

“The airport terminal is the gateway to this community, it’s the first place or the last place people see often, especially people that are traveling here on business that they will see when they first come here,” Bill Hopper, Director of Aviation at Elmira Corning Regional Airport. 

The initial price tag on the project was at $58 million. After an expansion of the scope and approval of the bid, the price is now brought up to just under $61 million. 

The Upstate Revitalization Grant will fund about $40 million. The rest will be paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration and through passenger facility charges. Hopper said that the charge is on every ticket. 

“It’s basically the users are paying for it, so it’s not the taxpayers,” Hopper said. 

“I think the expansion sounds really good, sounds positive, it sounds good for the community,” Sarah Mattix, a Corning resident, said. “I think most of where the budget is coming from sounds pretty legit too, but I wouldn’t want to think that part of the money is also being tagged on to people’s ticket prices, like that’s like double-dipping.”

Airline tickets won’t have price hikes, however, the money will be allocated further for project payments. 

“The first initial budget that we got from the state seems like a very generous gift from the state,” Laurel Eschbach, a Big Flats resident, said. “I’m definitely in favor of some nicer amenities, but I think we have to make sure we have the services to really back up those amenities, and make sure we get the travelers through the airport that we need to make sure we get the revenue.”

The renovations will offer improved passenger experience and expand the airport by more than 50 percent. The airport was built in 1960 and hasn’t had significant renovation in over 25 years. Every year, more than 150,000 people board planes at the airport on average.

The new design is looking to use open-air landscaped courtyards and glass walls to create a sense of “walking through the woods” according to the Chemung County government website

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