Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Planned Rochester airport upgrades again touted
By Gary Craig
The Rochester (NY) Democrat & Chronicle
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo discuss renovations plans for the local airport.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo used a stop in Rochester Tuesday for a political twofer: Touting airport upgrades first announced seven months ago and taking a ride in a car driven by a likely Lyft driver.
More than 200 local officials and businesspeople joined Cuomo at the Greater Rochester International Airport to again detail the $60 million enhancements planned for the airport. And, before the news conference, Cuomo took a ride with Irondequoit resident Rita Bentley, a former Lyft driver who plans to again join the ride-hailing business approved for western New York cities in the state budget.
"I'm ecstatic," Bentley said about ride-sharing operations. The mother of two teenagers, she said she expects many to use the services, including people out drinking at night and in need of safe rides.
"The streets," she said, will be "a little safer."
The state announced in September that it chose Monroe County's proposal for airport upgrades from a competitive process. The state will fund about $40 million of a project expected to cost close to $60 million and be completed in two years. Local and federal funding will cover the rest.
Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo hugs Gov. Andrew Cuomo after a press conference highlighting the redevelopment of the Rochester International Airport on Tuesday.
"I believe it's an investment that's going to reap dividends," Cuomo said Tuesday.
The upgrades will include facade changes; more accessible information, including Bluetooth access, about flight information; a Smartphone lot with a screen providing flight information for those waiting to pick up passengers; and improved security operations.
Rendering of airport upgrade
The improvements will take "a great functional airport into the 21st century," said County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo.
The improvements could make a more accommodating facility for business travelers, enticing more to consider the region and travels through Rochester, she said. The airport has long struggled with flight costs and availability.
"I think this will also create a potential for additional flights coming in," she said.
Cuomo fielded no questions Tuesday.