Industry News

NYAMA President Tells Transportation Budget Hearing: Airports Need Funding Restored

Saying the aviation industry contributes more than $50 billion in annual economic activity in New York State, New York Aviation Management Association (NYAMA) President Jeremy Martelle today urged lawmakers to boost funding for two critical aviation programs.

Martelle testified in Albany today at a New York State Budget Hearing on Transportation and noted the State Aviation Capital Grant Program had been funded at a level of $15M-$17M a year until 2010. In the 2010 through 2013 fiscal years, there was no capital improvement funding. Funding has since returned, but at a level less than $10 million annually. “In order to meet the ongoing critical needs of airport infrastructure improvement,” Martelle said, “NYAMA is requesting $200 million over five years for the State Aviation Capital Grant Program.”

NYAMA is also seeking to end the under-funding of the Airport Capital Improvement Program. It anticipates the $4 million allocation in the proposed budget will fall short of the need, and is seeking a minimum of $6 million in the next state budget.

“The cost of addressing the growing needs of the overall transportation system is great, but will only increase if we delay action”, Martelle said. “New York State must invest now in effective aviation infrastructure programs or face much higher, perhaps prohibitive, prices later when decay has made the challenges far worse.”

Martelle thanked the legislature for enacting significant aviation tax reform last year that enabled New York airports to restore their competitiveness with neighboring states. He also praised the Executive Budget’s Upstate Airport Initiative, where Governor Cuomo is proposing $200M for an Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, aimed at boosting investment in commercial passenger and cargo service airports and in turn create jobs and stimulate economic development. The initiative calls for the State to award five airports approximately $40 million apiece.

While welcoming the upstate initiative, Martelle told lawmakers he is concerned many of NYANA’s upstate airports will not be able to fairly compete for the funding. “NYAMA is anxious to work with you and the Governor to assure that this significant infrastructure funding reaches airports that establish the need for support, enhances aviation business development, creates new and permanent jobs and improves the state’s economy as a whole, he said.”

NYAMA is a non-profit association of aviation professionals with members from New York State airports, State government agencies, planning boards, consultants, engineers, equipment manufacturers, and education facilities. NYAMA is devoted to promoting airport development and representing the needs of the entire aviation industry.

Click Here to read NYAMA President Jeremy Martelle's complete testimony.

NYAMA PRESIDENT TESTIFIES ON AIRPORT SECURITY BEFORE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE

Increasing airport security is crucial but costs money that most airports do not currently have, Jeremy P. Martelle, President of the New York Aviation Management Association (NYAMA), told a U.S. House subcommittee.

Martelle testified at field hearing of the Subcommittee on Transportation Security, part of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Subcommittee Chair Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) called the hearing at the James M. Hanley Federal Building in Syracuse to discuss the state of airport security and the implementation of the Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act. This law, named for the Transportation Security Administration agent who was fatally shot on duty in 2013, requires airports to have plans in place to deal with active shooter incidents and similar threats, including increased employee screening and awareness of suspicious employee behavior.

Martelle acknowledged the need for these new measures but noted that they will pose a financial hardship for many airports. “Currently, airports are required to conduct random and cursory inspections on all employees. The TSA has begun to ask if airports are willing to do more, much more. This increase has overloaded airports which are generally funded through federal and state grants,” said Martelle. “The aging infrastructure of today’s airports have required the allocation of a large majority of airport funding to go directly to immediate safety needs such as those associated with runways, taxiways, safety areas and airport parking aprons,” he continued.

Martelle pointed to two significant security upgrades at Syracuse Hancock International Airport: a $60 million centralized security checkpoint and an automated exit portal system, which allows passengers and employees to exit secure areas and prevents others from entering. The latter project, he noted, has paid for itself, as employees are no longer required to monitor the exit lanes. In the case of the checkpoint overhaul, however, “extensive financial resources had to be obligated in order for this project to occur. Most airports would see other critical projects go unfunded as a result of such a reprioritization of resources.”

To meet airports’ changing security needs, the government and the industry need to explore new revenue sources, Mr. Martelle said. One possibility would be “to create a dedicated funding source, similar to the (Federal Aviation Administration) airport improvement program, in order to assist airports funding security improvements or TSA mandates. This could be accomplished through carving out special funding sources through the passenger facility charge program or the security fee charges through airline ticket purchases,” he suggested.

NYAMA is a non-profit association of aviation professionals with members from New York State airports, State government agencies, planning boards, consultants, engineers, equipment manufacturers, and education facilities. NYAMA is devoted to promoting airport development and representing the needs of the entire aviation industry.

NYAMA Board Calls for Clarity on Use of New York State-Issued Driver Licenses and U.S. Transportation Security Administration Airport Checkpoint Regulations

ALBANY, NY -- The Board of Directors of the New York Aviation Management Association (NYAMA) today called on federal officials to clarify its directive that will require enhanced security features in New York State driver licenses used by as identification by travelers at airport security checkpoints.

The Real ID Act, which has been enforced in stages since it was enacted in 2005, requires identification accepted by the federal government to contain certain security features that currently are not used in standard driver’s licenses issued in New York and three other U.S. states. Several published reports this week documented that the implementation of the final phase of the Real ID Act – for boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft – is set to take effect “no earlier than 2016,” according to guidelines published by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

Some airports in New York State have received verbal assurances from their local TSA representatives that no changes to current regulations are planned or expected, but no clear policy for the implementation of the final phase of the Real ID Act has been established in Washington.

“Despite the alarming headlines, we want to assure air travelers from New York State that their state-issued driver licenses will continue to be accepted at all U.S. airport checkpoints, including every airport in the Empire State,” said Jeremy P. Martelle, President of the New York Aviation Management Association. “We are aware that the Real ID Act phase that applies to airport checkpoints is scheduled to take effect as soon as next year, but that’s an important qualification, because it does not necessarily indicate the implementation will take place in 2016. We are seeking greater clarity on the matter, but until we receive further direction from Washington, travelers should continue to fly without any concern about the validity of their New York state-issued driver’s licenses as acceptable identification.”

NYAMA is a non-profit association of aviation professionals with members from New York State airports, State government agencies, planning boards, consultants, engineers, equipment manufacturers, and education facilities. NYAMA is devoted to promoting airport development and representing the needs of the entire aviation industry.

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