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Congressman Collins announces $630,000 grant for construction at county airport

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) announced $630,000 in federal funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for the Genesee County Airport. The grant will fund the construction for approximately 700 linear feet of taxi lane necessary to provide access to the new T-hangar areas at the airport.

“Supporting local governments with the cost of maintaining, repairing and building critical infrastructure is an appropriate use of federal tax dollars,” Congressman Collins said. “Local taxpayers send a lot of their hard-earned money to Washington and it is only proper that we get a share of it back to assist with projects that are important to our local communities.”

“The grant not only supports local construction jobs, but it allows for the construction of the aprons that are needed to erect additional facilities necessary to address Genesee County's long-standing waiting list for hangars,” said Timothy J. Hens, Superintendent for the Genesee County Highway Department. “More hangars means more activity at the airport, which is good for the county, and good for the businesses based at and around the airport.”

The Congressman’s office remains available to assist any local government pursuing a federal grant.

Robert Brown
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When did the Genesee County Airport become "critical infrastructure"? Just how many of Genesee County's 60,000 citizens survive because of the critical nature of the airport? How many of the hundreds of businesses in the county rely upon the airport?

Privatize it.

As for taxpayers getting "a share" of our tax money back, how about cutting the amount we send to Washington and stop pretending that "grants" for special interests are serving the taxpaying public.

I'd like to see how much of the $630,000 is actually spent on local construction jobs, where local means owned by someone and based in Genesee County. Construction done by firms in Syracuse generates absolutely nothing for Genesee County.

Imagine what $630,000 could do to resolve the abandoned and condemned homes problem in Genesee County. Thanks for nothing Congressman, you have no clue on the priorities in Genesee County aside from your own career in politics...

Mark Potwora
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Just think how that money would have been better spent on roads and bridges that we all drive on..Instead they spent in on an airport that a select few use for there avation enjoyment......

david spaulding
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looks like the county workers will be getting some overtime paving aprons for the additional facilities that the taxpayer will have to pay for.....

Mark Potwora
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The Congressman’s office remains available to assist any local government pursuing a federal grant.....Wonder if this congressman can also assist the taxpayer in getting some his or her tax dollars back.. Better we spend our money then the local government..

Timothy Hens
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Just to provide some additional clarification on comments raised:

The construction contract was awarded to Keeler Construction who is based out of Albion. There were no Genesee County firms that bid on the project. Many of Keeler's employees, however, are based in Genesee County. The total construction contract is for $490,415. C&S Engineers, based out of Syracuse, was awarded a construction inspection and administration contract for $97,650. This inspection is required by the FAA. The balance of the grant is for contingency and a small reimbursement to the county for administration of the project/grant. There will be no county crews used during construction and therefore no overtime expense. The total County share of the grant is $31,500.

Regarding privatization, the County solicited proposals from private interests in 2001 and received no interest. Additionally, the County would be required by law to payback a significant portion of the construction grants received from the FAA . At the current time, the payback of the grants would easily exceed what a private developer would be likely to pay.

Congressman Collins mentioned that “Local taxpayers send a lot of their hard-earned money to Washington and it is only proper that we get a share of it back to assist with projects that are important to our local communities.” We do send a lot of our money to Washington, but the money that funds airport improvements does not come from the general fund (i.e. income tax). The Airport Improvement Program (AIP), was established by the Airport and Airway Improvement Act of 1982 (Public Law 97-248). Since then, the AIP has been amended several times, most recently with the passage of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. These programs are funded from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, into which are deposited revenues from several aviation-user taxes on such items as airline fares, air freight, and aviation fuel.

Again, the Genesee County Airport is a self-sufficient operation and has surplussed money for 9 out of the last 10 years, with the only loss (approx. $15,000) coming at the start of the "Great Recession" in 2008. Even if the airport were operated at an annual loss, which most small public airports are; there would still be a residual economic impact of the airport into the community that far exceeded any loss. I know there will always be detractors and those who do not support the airport no matter the situation, but I do still find it important to get out the facts regarding its operation. Anyone with questions is more than welcome to contact me at the County Highway Department.

Mark Potwora
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Mr.Hens you state , the Genesee County Airport is a self-sufficient operation ..How can that be if you are taking taxpayer dollars in the form of grants..Also for the record just how many planes land and take off from the airport that actually have anything to do with a business on a daily basis?..And how many land and take off for recreational purposes on a daily basis?...How many county employees work at the airport?....

Jeff Allen
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Tim, thank you for another articulate and well researched response. Whether or not you agree with Tim's stand on some of these county issues, his posts on here and open offer to discuss further make him one of the most engaged and accessible public servants we have.

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