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Touring the Airport ConstructionFrom left: Airport manager Mike hall, COngressman Tom Reed, Airport Deputy Director of Operations and Airport Fire Department Chief Josh Nalley

US Congressman Tom Reed visited the Ithaca-Tompkins Regional Airport Wednesday to highlight a $10 million federal investment into the $24.7 million construction project.  Reed met airport officials, contractors, and construction workers on an extensive tour of the major renovation.  Airport Deputy Director of Operations and Airport Fire Department Chief Josh Nalley and Airport Manager Mike Hall led a tour to show Reed the new check-in area, gates and security areas, baggage handling, and office space for up to six airlines.

"It's great to be at the Ithaca Airport today to see first hand this federal investment of close to $10 million dollars, to see how its going to benefit the community," Reed said. "This is a great team. It's a great example of people working together for the betterment of the community."

Check-inThe entrance addition will house check-in and back offices for American, Delta, and United Airlines. There is desk and office space for three additional airlines for future route expansion

The project includes a new arrivals and departures concourse with six gates, four of which will be equipped with jet bridges.  A new entryway with airline check-in desks and space (including offices behind the gates) for up to six airlines that could potentially double the three airlines - Delta, American, and United - currently servicing the airport.  More efficient baggage handling and security areas are part of the project, a new front canopy, and solar panels to be installed over parking spaces in the parking lot in front of the terminal.  In May of 2018 Governor Mario Cuomo announced the State would contribute $14.25 Million For Tompkins-Ithaca Airport Expansion.  He made finishing by the end of 2019 a condition of the grant.

"We are right on time," said Hall. "This has obviously been a very compressed year for us.  The Governor wants everything done in 2019.  The week after Labor Day we're going to repopulate the entrance to the airport, so when you come here you'll go through the new entrance and you'll have new airline ticket counters.  By the 29th of November the departure concourse with four jet bridges will be fully operational, and we'll be ready for a ribbon cutting.  When the Governor cuts the ribbon the project's done."

In May of 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $9.9 million Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant for the project.  Hall says that Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Reed pushed hard for the money.

"Of course the two senators are very influential, and Senator Schumer has always been extremely interested in this airport and very supportive of it," Hall said. "Representative Reed, of course, has a party connection to the Administration, where the money came from, so I think the fact that all of our federal officials were aggressively seeking the 10 million dollar award was the reason we received the money."

Hall says construction is scheduled 24 hours a day in order to meet the aggressive deadline.  As critical elements need attention more hours are added.  He says the traveling public has been very supportive, and that construction has not significantly impacted airport operations including the time it takes to go through security or get checked in.

"Our traveling public has been enormously supportive of the project and understanding the fact that you've got to go in the out door and things like that over the past few months," he said. "We've had very few complaints that were related to construction per se, and we really appreciate the support the public has given us.  Of course, the benefit to them is that at the end of the year they're going to have a terrific facility that will be as nice as any airport they've ever seen."

Reed Visits Ithaca-Tompkins AirportFrom left: Congressman Tom Reed with Airport Manager Mike Hall, County Administrator Jason Molino, and Tompkins County Legislator Shawna Black outside the new concourse

Joining Reed Wednesday were County Administrator Jason Molino, Tompkins County Legislator Shawna Black, and Air Services Board Chair Larry Baum.  Reed made a point of meeting contractors and workmen as he viewed the new areas of the airport that will almost double its current size.  Reed, who lays claim to roofing experience himself, spent time talking to Evans Roofing President Bill Fischer, whose workmen were laying shingles on the new concourse addition.

ShinglesFrom Left: Evans Roofing Corporate Safety Director Dan Nowak, Charles F Evans Roofing Const Manager Donald Sewalt, Congressman Tom Reed

RoofersRoofers put shingles on the new concourse Wednesday

"We were honored to have Tom Reed visit our job site at the Ithaca Regional Airport project. It's great to see a member of congress interested in speaking to his constituents in their work environment and truly understanding the talent, character and integrity of our workforce," said Fischer.

ConcourseThe new concourse will feature six gates, four of which will be equipped with jet bridges. A large window at the end of the terminal will provide a view of the air field

Travelers will walk from security, up a ramp to the concourse, toward a glass wall at the top providing a panoramic view of the air field.  gates will be on either side, including four jet bridges, a big jump from the one that has been in operation since the terminal was originally built.

"The project is a generational investment.  It's a transformational project for the region and the airport," said Molino. "We're very thankful for all the partners federally and state-wide for their support in making this happen.  It's a great project and you've already seen quite a bit of transformation visually, and you'll continue to see it through the course of the next six months."

Reed said he is happy with the way the federal money is being spent.

"I met many of the tradesmen, and I met the senior team from the County. It's clear to me that they're watching, they're doing everything right, and they're doing it as effectively and efficiently as they possibly can," he said. "That's all I can ask.  They'll have a partner in us, and together we'll be vibrant for many years to come."

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