New In-Terminal Reading Room Called "Mario & Matilda Cuomo Pavilion Room" in Partnership with the New York State Writers Institute Will Offer Books, Historic Artifacts and Visual Art
New Parking and Passenger Amenities Add Convenience and Support Regional Business
Part of $72.1 Million State Investment in Albany Airport, Including $50 Million Highway Connector Between the Airport and the Adirondack Northway (Exit 3) that Eases Traffic Congestion and Provides a More Direct Route to the Airport
Albany Airport Investment Includes $22.1 Million Grant from the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition Awarded by Governor Cuomo in 2018
See Photos of the New Airport Gateway Sign Here
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today celebrated the installation of a new Capital Region gateway welcome sign spanning Albany Shaker Road in Colonie, Albany County and the unveiling of the new in-terminal Mario & Matilda Cuomo Pavilion Room, symbolically marking the completion of the $63.3 million modernization of Albany International Airport. The project rehabilitated the airport terminal, enhanced passenger amenities and expanded parking with a new, multi-level, 1,000-space parking garage. The project is a key component of a $72.1 million state investment that upgraded the airport and the roadways leading to it, including the creation of the long-awaited Exit 3 off the Northway after decades of delay. The $72.1 million investment includes $22.1 million from the $200 million Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, first announced by Governor Cuomo in his 2016 State of the State Address and passed in the 2017 State budget. Additional funding for the airport project was provided by the Albany County Airport Authority and the federal government.
"Albany International Airport is a regional gateway, a hub for business and leisure travel that is critical to economic competitiveness for the Capital Region and beyond," Governor Cuomo said. "Transforming this airport and others across the state is providing local communities with important keys to success for tourism and business growth in the 21st century."
"This significant investment to modernize the Albany International Airport was done on-time and under-budget creating a new gateway to the Capital Region and enhancing the experience for travelers," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "We thank the frontline heroes who worked during the COVID-19 pandemic to transform the airport as a symbol of growth and rebirth. We are improving airports across the state to help increase tourism, strengthen the economy and build back New York State better for the post-pandemic future."
The new 90-foot-long gateway sign near the airport entrance spans all four lanes of Albany-Shaker Road and was designed by the Albany County Airport Authority to commemorate the transformation of the airport and its transportation corridor. It reflects the airport design, featuring columnar brick and concrete piers that support an arched steel sign crossing the roadway overhead and welcoming travelers to the airport and the state's Capital Region. LED lighting will illuminate the gateway at night in a variety of colors.
As part of the transformation of the airport, Albany Airport partnered with the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany to turn an 800 square-foot, glass-enclosed lounge on the first floor of the terminal into a reading room called the Mario & Matilda Cuomo Pavilion Room, in recognition of the former New York Governor and his wife. Governor Mario Cuomo signed legislation in 1984 establishing the New York State Writers Institute and giving it the mandate to support writers and provide them ways to collaborate and nurture their artistic imagination. Matilda Cuomo established the New York State Mentoring Program, the nation's first statewide one-to-one mentoring program of its kind. The Pavilion Room will feature books, historic materials and visual art and serve as a peaceful respite within the terminal.
Modernizing Albany International Airport
Albany International Airport's main terminal was built in 1962 and underwent its last significant renovation in 1998. About 1.4 million people a year board planes at the airport, which had an outdated appearance and limited parking. Albany International Airport expanded the initial scope of the project and secured $28.8 million in funding for a total project cost of $58.8 million.
The airport transportation corridor project was completed a year ahead of the original 2020 target date and under budget, and the new State seal of New York is featured on the terminal facade, inside the terminal, on the garage and on the gateway.
Governor Cuomo in November 2019 cut the ribbon on a new $50 million highway connector between the airport and the Adirondack Northway (Interstate 87) in the Town of Colonie, Albany County, easing traffic congestion and providing a more direct route to the airport. The airport connector project was funded by Governor Cuomo's $100 billion Infrastructure Renewal Plan.
Exit 3, completed in October 2019, was a key aspect of the Northway-Albany Airport Connector project and provides more direct access to the airport and alleviates traffic along the Northway, both northbound and southbound. Since before the completion of the Adirondack Northway more than 50 years ago, numerous discussions and plans had been made to add an Exit 3 to the Northway. Until recently, the Northway went from Exit 2 to Exit 4 in both directions. The Albany International Airport Transportation Corridor created the much-anticipated northbound Exit 3 flyover ramp on the Adirondack Northway (I-87) and reconfigured Exits 4 and 5 off and on ramps to provide more direct access to local roads and the Northway.
The airport modernization includes:
Terminal Rehabilitation and Passenger Amenities - The project rehabilitated the terminal, including four escalators, restrooms, waiting rooms and the food court. Improvements include terrazzo floors, tile floors, new carpets and wall finishes, energy-efficient lighting fixtures, updated signage, better Internet connectivity, mobile device charging stations throughout, a pet relief area and solar roof panels capable of providing up to 30-kilowatt peak per hour of sustainable energy for the facility.
New Parking Garage - The project constructed a 1,000-unit, multi-level parking garage, expanding airport parking capacity by 20 percent. The pre-cast concrete garage includes a heated pedestrian walkway to the airport terminal. Energy-efficient LED lights illuminate that bridge, enhancing visibility as well as vehicular and pedestrian safety.
Parking Access Improvements - The project installed new LED electronic signage, car counting devices, and interactive access control devices that utilize advanced GPS technology to locate available parking spaces and provide wayfinding messages that direct motorists to them. The new systems also provide travelers with a variety of parking and payment options, including ticketless entry and parking, in-terminal parking pay stations that interface with parking staff, and systems for travelers to locate their vehicles via a kiosk, smartphone or parking ticket.
Albany Shaker Road was also widened with turning lanes between Wolf Road and Meeting House Road and new drainage and curbing installed.
A new, direct on-ramp from Route 155 (Watervliet-Shaker Road) at Exit 5 to the southbound Northway was added, eliminating the need for the previous ramp off the southbound side of the highway.
On the northbound side, the on-ramp adjacent to the Times Union building was extended all the way to Exit 5 for Route 155, creating a longer auxiliary lane that makes it easier for drivers to merge onto the northbound Northway and to depart the highway at Exit 5, benefiting local traffic. A noise wall was added along the northbound side between Exits 4 and 5.
For travelers heading to the airport from the northbound Northway, the project eliminated the need to travel through two additional traffic lights. For southbound Northway travelers, the project eliminated the need to travel through one additional traffic light. Crash rates and travel times are expected to decrease as a result.
The project also enhanced connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists by providing sidewalks on the south side of Albany Shaker Road between the connector road and Wolf Road, as well as a shared use path between Albany International Airport and the connector road.
Construction of the airport connector road also freed up large tracts of commercially zoned parcels for commercial redevelopment and improvement by the private sector.
An estimated 40,000 motor vehicles per day use Exit 4 at the Northway and an estimated 102,000 motor vehicles travel over Albany-Shaker Road at that location daily.
The Albany International Airport Transportation Corridor Project builds on the success of an earlier Department of Transportation project to ease travel near the airport. In October 2015, DOT completed a $22.3 million project to replace the bridges carrying the Northway over Albany-Shaker Road. The bridges were built as part of the original Northway construction in 1959.
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "Governor Cuomo is making unprecedented investments in all modes of transportation infrastructure across New York State. Today's announcement builds on the transformative investments we're making in the Albany Airport Transportation Corridor Project by updating and modernizing access to the airport with new roads, exits, ramps and signage, adding modern amenities and expanded parking to Albany International Airport, making it more convenient than ever travel to the Capital Region."
Empire State Development Acting Commissioner, and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State's airports are being transformed into 21st century transportation hubs that encourage business development and welcome visitors to our diverse regions. The newly modernized Albany International Airport—offering improved traffic access and a better passenger experience—represents the administration's smart investments in regional infrastructure designed to catalyze sustainable economic growth."
Representative Paul Tonko said, "As we work to keep our economic footing through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, targeted investments in our critical infrastructure have become even more urgent and important. Albany International Airport has long served as a hub of economic activity for our region and indeed the entire state, meaning the investments we make there hold added promise to open critical doors of opportunity at a time when we have a great need for safe, appropriate economic activity, investment and development. I applaud this move to strengthen a vital piece of New York's transportation infrastructure, and I am certain this sound investment will yield economic rewards for many years to come."
Senator Neil Breslin said, "I am glad to see that this transformative project in the Capital Region is coming to completion. The project has not only addressed traffic issues in that area of Colonie, but has also upgraded the Albany International Airport into a modern Capital Region amenity.
Assemblyman Phil Steck said, "On behalf of the entire Capital Region, I commend the Governor for his commitment to upgrading our Airport. Unlike many areas, we are fortunate to have our Airport located so conveniently for travelers to and from the Capital Region. These upgrades assure that we preserve that advantageous position. And I have already personally witnessed the improvement in traffic flow in my town, Colonie, which has resulted from the new Exit 3."
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, "Before the pandemic hit New York, Albany International was the site of over 1.5 million people boarding planes in 2019 from across the Capital Region and beyond. As we responded to the virus, the airport became an essential asset for bringing in needed personal protective equipment that would ultimately save countless lives. It is times like these that we're reminded of how important it is to invest in our key infrastructure. I commend the vision and leadership of both Governor Cuomo and CEO Phil Calderone for seeing this remarkable project through that will soon help the airport get back to record high traffic through their terminals not seen in over a decade."
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, "I'm proud to join Governor Cuomo in celebrating the completion of the modernization of Albany International Airport. This significant investment demonstrates the Governor's ongoing commitment to ensuring that the Capital Region has the infrastructure and amenities necessary to attract investment and create jobs."
Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan said, "We are grateful to Governor Cuomo for his dedication in making the modernization of Albany international Airport a reality. Our region and the travelers throughout it will benefit greatly and these improvements will continue to boost our economy."
Capital Region Chamber President and CEO Mark Eagan said, "What a year for significant investment to modernized Albany International Airport, from renovating the terminal, constructing new Exit 3 off the Northway, to much-need new parking garage and now proper gateway signage. Thank you to Governor Cuomo for his championing investment which positions Albany International to be a driver for economic growth for years to come."
Philip Calderone, CEO of the Albany County Airport Authority, said, "New York State's commitment to infrastructure is most evident in Governor Cuomo's $63 million investment to construct our new 1,000 car parking garage along with the major renovation and passenger upgrades in our terminal. Today's completion of the Airport Gateway Arch will serve as a permanent and iconic symbol welcoming all to our Airport and to our entire Capital Region."
About the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition
The $200 Million Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization competition called on Upstate airports to envision the airport of tomorrow as the new gateway to the region. The Competition built upon the success of Governor Cuomo's Master Plan Design Competition for LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy Airports, as well as the transformative efforts already underway at several downstate regional airports.
The Competition was administered by the New York State Department of Transportation. It was open to all owners of upstate public-use airports that provide or propose to provide scheduled commercial passenger air and/or cargo service. Funding for this competition was included in the five-year Department of Transportation Capital Plan.
Governor Cuomo's Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition included awards to Elmira-Corning Regional Airport, the Greater Rochester International Airport, Plattsburgh International Airport, Syracuse Hancock International Airport, Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport and Albany International Airport. The bold plans and designs developed by these airports enhanced safety, improved operations and access, reduced environmental impacts, and created a better passenger experience.
In the 2021 State Budget, Governor Cuomo announced Round 2 of the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition - which will invest $100 million to continue transforming upstate airports. Details of the competition will be announced soon.