Exit 3 Will Finally Become a Reality with the New Northway-Albany Airport Connector - Slated for Opening in Late 2019, A Year Ahead of Original 2020 Opening Date
New Airport Parking Garage Construction Underway; Project Will Also Rehabilitate the Terminal, Built in 1962, with Improved Escalators, Waiting Areas, and Food Court
Governor Cuomo: "How does it take 50 years to build Exit 3? You have a whole generation of children who are now mathematically challenged because they went up and down the Northway all their life and they count one, two, four because there was no three. We are making it happen, and when you put investment together with action together with competence, you put those two elements together - that is dynamite, that is TNT. And it creates a great positive synergistic economic explosion."
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced plans for a new Exit 3 that will provide more direct access to Albany International Airport and alleviate traffic along the Northway, both northbound and southbound. The new exit, which had been talked about for 50 years without coming to fruition, is a key aspect in the airport's $104.6 million modernization which includes construction of a new parking garage and rehabilitation of the airport terminal.
AUDIO of today's event is available here.
PHOTOS of today's event will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript is available below:
Good morning, thank you. What a great morning it is. First, congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard and long on this project. Something like this does not just happen. This is a lot of people working together for many, many months and getting to yes, getting to yes. Instead of finding ways to preserve the status quo, finding ways to make change. So, let's applaud Marie Therese Dominguez and the state DOT and the Albany County Airport Authority. Congratulations to all our federal partners at USDOT. Thank you very much for all of your help. I want to applaud the members of the legislature who make this possible. If they don't pass the funding, we are not here today. So, let's thank Assemblymen John McDonald, and Senator Neil Breslin, and Assemblywoman Pat Fahy. Thank you very much for what you have done. The partnership with the county and the city, County Executive McCoy and Mayor Sheehan, thank you very much for your good work. Let's give them a round of applause. And on my team Kelly Cummings, the State Director of Operations, who has been on this every day. Let's give her a round of applause.
You know this is, it is all great, besides that loud noise outside. But you know you think about it, one of the greatest challenges for this state has been dealing with the upstate economy, the problem of the upstate economy quote on quote we've been talking about if for decades. Mayor Jennings is here, Congressman McNulty, I mean that has been the challenge for years. And the problems in upstate New York and the economy were not function of New York State. It was a national phenomenon, moving away from manufacturing, etcetera, but it took a toll on upstate New York and the State did very little about it. That is the truth and they ignored the problem and I've said before the State government was too focused on downstate New York. That's where the critical mass of the legislators come from. That's where a lot of the resources are and upstate New York did not get the attention that it needed.
So step one to solving a problem is acknowledge the problem and do something about it. And our step one was we were going to invest more in the upstate economy than any administration in the history of the state of New York, $44 billion, and we did. And you see that business investment now reaping dividends. You see it with Regeneron, you see it with Global Foundries, you see with that nanotech center, you see it at Flomatic, you see it at the digital gaming hub at RPI, you see it at Mohawk Harbor - all those projects are working. And you see it working and you feel it working.
The second step was we had to remember that government in New York especially is about getting things done. You know, what made New York New York in the first place? This place did not just evolve. We had forbearers who made this happen. This was ambition. This was drive. This was courage. This was boldness. It's not evolution. You make your own future, you make your destiny. And transportation and the infrastructure is the path to economic development. That's what that Eerie Canal taught us in 1817. That's what the New York City subway showed us in 1904. That's what the Albany airport showed us in 1928. Mayor Thatcher said, "A city without the foresight to build an airport for the new traffic may soon be left behind in the race for competition." That was the New York way - to do it first, to do it better, to be confident, to be competent, and we built this place into the greatest state in the nation. And then we lost our mojo, we lost our footing. How does it take 50 years to build Exit 3? You have a whole generation of children who are now mathematically challenged because they went up and down the Northway all their life and they count one, two, four because there was no three. Signed in the 70s, Exit 3 - to be built. Don't hold your breath. It's a government project so it will take 50 years. That can't be. It can't be. 'Well we studied, well we planned.' That's nice.
What did you do? What did you accomplish? What did you achieve? Effort is nice and planning is nice and hoping is nice and press releases are nice but what did you get done? That's the end, that's the bottom line of the equation to me, what did you actually accomplish. And then you can't take fifty years to build exit three. And by the way it can't take fifty years to build a new track on the Long Island railroad and thirty years to build a new Moynihan train station, it can't take twenty years to build a new Tappan Zee bridge after you say it's falling down. You can't take twenty years after you say a bridge is going to fall down. Government is about making it happen and that's what we have shown. All of us here today, that's what this shows. Once again we are making it happen, and when you put investment together with action together with competence, you put those two elements together that is dynamite. That is TNT. And it creates a great positive synergistic economic explosion. And that's what you're seeing that's what you're seeing in the Capital Region it is inarguable.
The state's economy today is stronger than ever before. Over 8.2 million jobs in New York state highest number of private sector jobs in the history of this state. Capital district region over four hundred and forty two thousand private sector jobs, highest number of jobs in April in the history of the State of New York. That's where the Capital Region is today. When we started, the unemployment rate was 7 percent. You know what it is today? Less than half—3.3 percent. That's progress my friends. And what I love the most, when we started young people were leaving upstate New York in droves; it was sad. The best news, you now have for the first time in decades the young population actually increasing by about 10 percent in the Capital District region. Young people are staying, young people are coming home and that is the future.
So, the formula is right. Invest in upstate New York. We have every asset imaginable. The potential is all there. It just needed an investment to spark it. And remember that we are what we build. Our history, our future is what we make it; our destiny is what we create. And it is about making things happen at the end of the day and you have made a great airport a greater airport. The front door to the Capital Region is open; it's open wide and open stronger than ever before. Albany is now an international business destination and we have an international airport that we deserve. Congratulations to all of you. Thank you.