WNY Regional Council-funded project to add 1,000 additional spaces to accommodate significant passenger increases at airport
The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council and The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced Thursday that Phase I of an $8.09 million improvement project to expand the Long Term B parking lot at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport by 1,000 spaces is ready to move forward. The project is in the first stages of the $6,867,811 award it received as part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Regional Council initiative. This capital improvement project, which also received $1,226,419 from the BNIA, will accommodate current customer demand for low-cost, onsite parking and anticipated increases in passengers in the future.
The much-needed additional parking spaces will be added to the Long Term B lot that runs along Holtz Drive north of Genesee Street. Once completed, the B lot will have a total of 2,901 spaces.
"I am very thankful for the financial assistance and extensive cooperation we received from the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council that has allowed us to move this project forward," said Howard A. Zemsky, NFTA chairman. "Growth at the BNIA has and will lead to commercial development of the surrounding area, increasing the tax base as private investors continue see the value of being near the airport, thus adding job opportunities, which benefit our entire region."
"The Buffalo Niagara International Airport plays an essential role in the development of business and tourism in the Buffalo Niagara region, which is why the Western New York Regional Council is pleased to award the NFTA funding to move ahead with this critical project," said Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Satish K. Tripahi. "The increased passenger usage at our airport is a positive sign for our region, as airports are economic drivers, creating employment, acting as business gateways and serving as an impetus for tourism growth."
Based on increased demand, especially during the holidays and spring break, the airport has been forced to lease off-site property in order to handle the parking overflow, especially from Canadian customers who year-to-date represent 47 percent of the airport's long-term parkers. This expansion will prevent that from being repeated once the project is completed.
The BNIA has a daily average of 110 flights with nonstop service to 23 airports. In 2011 the BNIA served 5.1 million passengers, the sixth straight year of 5 million or more passengers. Originally, that milestone was not expected to be achieved until 2020. The BNIA benefits the entire state; even people who have never use air travel. For example, as a result of 805,462 cars parking on site in 2011, of which almost 50 percent were Canadian visitors, $1.57 million in tax revenue was collected and passed on to benefit the state and Erie County.
An Economic Impacts Study of Aviation in New York State conducted in 2009 by the Federal Aviation Administration and the state Department of Transportation revealed that 12,827 full- and part-time jobs and more than $620.5 million in expenditures are the direct result of on-airport businesses, including airport sponsor expenditures, and visitor spending at the airport. Including indirect expenditures, the total impact for Buffalo Niagara International Airport (2009) was $1.07 billion, supporting 16,628 jobs.
Starting in mid-November, Metro Contracting & Environmental Inc. of Niagara Falls will commence with the demolition and remediation of three structures on the property in preparation for site construction. The contract is for a not-to-exceed amount of $48,340.
Urban Engineers of New York P.C. has been awarded a $407,142 contract for design services as part of Phase II. This portion is scheduled for the design to proceed through the fall and winter leading up to bid documents being advertised in late winter, for construction to start in early summer 2013. When completed, the BNIA will have a total of 7,877 spaces (14.5 percent more) on site to serve its customers.
State Sen. Tim Kennedy said, "This strategic investment in our local transportation infrastructure will boost the economic competitiveness of our state and help create jobs for Western New Yorkers. More people are flying out of the Buffalo-Niagara Airport, and this expansion project aims to capitalize on the growth. It will empower local businesses with new economic opportunities and further strengthen the economic bonds between Western New York and Canada. I applaud Governor Cuomo and our Regional Council for targeting the right opportunities to grow our economy."
Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak said, "Since my days as Cheektowaga town supervisor, I have seen the Buffalo-Niagara Airport expand to become the major transportation hub it is today. I know firsthand the economic impact that the airport has on Western New York as well as the potential for growth in tourism and job creation this expansion will usher in. I applaud the NFTA, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the legislature for taking initiative in projects such as this to help our region."
Since taking office in January 2011, Cuomo has targeted the revitalization of the Buffalo and Western New York economy as a top priority that will contribute to the overall strength and vitality of New York.
Last year, a total of $785 million was awarded through the Consolidated Funding Application for job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans. As part of that process, the NFTA and BNIA was awarded $6,867,811 from the state DOT and Empire State Development.
To learn more about each regional council and their economic development plans, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov. For information on how the New New York is working for business, visit www.thenewny.com.