February 23, 2023
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Celebrates Final Phase of the JFK Transformation with Groundbreaking for a New $4.2 Billion Terminal 6

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Celebrates Final Phase of the JFK Transformation with Groundbreaking for a New $4.2 Billion Terminal 6

Project Will Create More Than 4,000 Total Jobs Including 1,800 Union Construction Jobs

Terminal 6 to Offer World-Class Passenger Amenities, Expanded Taxiway and Gate Capacity, State-of-the-Art Security and Streamlined Roadway Access

Includes 30 Percent MWBE Goal for Contracts and Financing Interests; Extensive Opportunities for Local Businesses and Job Seekers Guided by Community Advisory Council

Renderings for New Terminal 6 Available Here

Governor Hochul: "Terminal Six will have 10 new gates, including nine for wide body jets. I've taken this airline all over the world and it is incredible it'll be as vibrant as New York itself, this terminal. This is a showcase. This is an opportunity to tell that story."

Hochul: "That is why we are here after 14 extraordinary months of announcement, after announcement, after announcement to show we have the courage, we have the heart to continue pushing New York State forward. This project today is the symbol of that, and I could not be prouder to be here."

Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey celebrated a key milestone in the Port Authority's transformation of John F. Kennedy International Airport with the groundbreaking for the $4.2 billion project to develop a new Terminal 6. The 1.2 million square foot, state-of-the-art new terminal on the airport's north side will feature 10 new gates — including 9 wide-body gates — and will create 4,000 jobs, including 1,800 jobs in construction. This project is the final piece of the JFK Vision Plan to break ground, and it will complete the transformation of the airport into a 21st century global gateway.

VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO of the event is available here.

PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor's Flickr page.

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

Well, here we are. JFK once again. There is so much extraordinary progress being made right now. So, I could not be happier to be back here, right here and now. So, I want to acknowledge some of our leaders of our community. People that I've come to know for many, many years now, starting with our Congressman, Greg Meeks. Thank you, Greg Meeks for your leadership in Washington, in your district, but also working with the advisory committee here to make that we do all the right things. And so, thank you. Let's give her another round of applause to Greg Meeks. Donovan Richards, our Borough President. The dynamic duo here. You have to tag team to come up against me, don't you? That's how it's got to be, alright. But we have been great partners working together and I thank both of you for all you do. But Donovan Richards, I come out of local government, I have an affinity for local government and you've been a great champion as well.

Rick Cotton needs no introduction. His name, I just said, Robert Carroll, who's done writing books about people like past icons who built infrastructure and kept building and doing great things. But you really have made a mark. You made contributions that will be talked about way beyond our time, and I'm grateful to have your service, your partnership and your friendship. Let's give a huge round of applause to Rick Cotton, our Executive Director. Kevin O'Toole, the Chairman of the Port Authority. Kevin, thank you for our cross-boundary friendship and relationships and your stewardship of this great organization leading us into great projects as well. So, I thank you Kevin O'Toole. Let's give another round of applause.

Our partners in this project, you'll be hearing from George Casey, the CEO of Vantage Airport Group. We've seen him at many of our events. Robin Hayes, the CEO of JetBlue Airways, finally got to see Robin in person. We've been communicating over remote means for the last couple years. And so, great to see you here and thank you for your commitment to this community and to this state. It's extraordinary. Scott Rechler, the Chair and CEO of RXR, thank you for your belief in this project and bringing it all the way to where we are today. Secretary Henry Cisneros, the Chairman of American Triple I. I want to say I've known the Secretary since he was the Secretary under Bill Clinton. And what you did at HUD was nothing short of extraordinary. I was a staffer on Capitol Hill, just a little bit younger than you maybe, not a whole lot. But I always watched your great work on how you tried to lift up our cities and our communities and so, thank you for your lifetime of public service as well. Secretary Henry Cisneros.

Helena Williams here is our CEO of JFK Millennium Partners. Thank you, Helena, for all your contributions. And this doesn't get built by the faint of heart. These are major, major important projects and we have nothing but the best, hardest working workforce in the world today led by Gary LaBarbera, the President of the Building and Construction Trades here in New York. Gary, thank you. Thank you.

It's not an exaggeration to say that the last 14 months have been among the most dramatic and transformational in the history of JFK. It was 75 years ago that President Truman was here for the first flight. At the time, it was known as Idlewild. You don't have to ask why because I think JFK was still in the military back then, commandeering PT 109 or whatever he was doing back then. So, he was not - that's why it wasn't called JFK in the beginning. I think we recognize that, but 75 years ago, President Truman. And what we've done since that time is nothing sort of extraordinary in the short few months. What have we done?

December 2021, we broke ground on a $1.5 billion expansion at Terminal Four. Last September, we broke ground on a $9.5 billion new Terminal One. And now just a few months later, here we are. Another milestone continuing JFK's domination among the world's premier airports. I said that, and therefore it is now true. So, let's lean into that story because I believe in that. This is a place people want to come and this is truly place of first impressions. And all the work we're doing here, those first impressions are going to be nothing but incredible. So, we're not just dreaming big thoughts, we're doing big things. And we also want to mark the fact that it takes a lot to raise the steel, pour the concrete to do exactly — I mentioned, Gary LaBarbera, organized labor is the lynchpin to getting this done, Gary, and the work that's being done, the work that was done during the pandemic to keep us on path. This is also part of your legacy. Over 4,000 jobs, 1,800 good-paying union jobs. That's how we change people's lives. We give them the training, you give them the dignity to work. And to all the workforce, thank you for making us all so proud.

It's an airport, yes, but it's also an economic engine supporting over 280,000 jobs, $17 billion in annual wages. It is truly the nation's leading airport for international visitors, and key to our tourism industry. And we know what happened during the pandemic. We took a hard hit, but now people are seeing this city, this state, we're back, we're back. Our subways, our streets are safer. People are starting to get that vibe again about what New York is all about. That exceptionalism that has defined us since our very beginning. And now, we talk about the tourism, the people coming from around the world to visit us. Tourism is back to 85 percent of our pre-pandemic levels. That, my friends, is progress. And I'm excited about that.

But now we talk about JFK being the front door to the rest of the world. I mentioned President Truman back in 1848 - I'm sorry, 1948, 1948. He said this airport will be the front door to the United Nations, that men and women from the far corners of the Earth will land here in search of peaceful solutions for their countries. That was a bold statement, but it remains as true today as it did in 1948, that this is where people will step onto the tarmac or come into the terminal, hopefully, with the opportunities to not just visit, not just to have a great experience, but also those who come here as ambassadors and those who are part of the diplomatic corps, who come here to go to the United Nations just as 75 years ago, President Truman talked about a place where they can seek peace. No better place to greet them than right here. That's why this is part of a larger story that is so significant. And now to have this continuum in its legacy of being a world class airport, we're New Yorkers, we deserve the best. We know that, and the rest of the world expects the best from us.

So, this again, will be a gateway that rivals everywhere else. And that is why this project, Terminal Six, a $4.2 billion project and the — here's the best part, my friends — 100 percent privately funded. I love that part. $4.2 billion. That is a sign of belief, that is a sign of confidence - that is so important to the rest of the world, that yes, we have that mojo back. We have the belief that this is money worth spending because there will be the return on this. And this is also part of what is already ongoing, as I mentioned, for our $18 billion overall construction transformation. We're going to have 1.2 million square feet of space. Terminal Six will have 10 new gates, including nine for wide body jets. I've taken this airline all over the world and it is incredible. We're going to have restaurants and little local businesses that have a chance to get a foothold here. Public art, recreation spaces — people will not know where they've landed. Those who've come here for many years and it'll be as vibrant as New York itself, this terminal. This is a showcase. This is an opportunity to tell that story.

And also, having this seamless connection to Terminal Five so you don't have to scramble. I remember the very first terminal here. I came here in 1998 when it first opened, because I was from a place - have you heard of this? Buffalo? You know Buffalo, yeah? Pretty good football most years, next year too. I mean, you have to love the Giants and the Jets, too. A lot of love for everybody. But Buffalo always felt a little bit, you know, like that stepsister, you never had the same pride for a long time, it was a hard-hit city. But when JetBlue opened up service to Buffalo and made the connections between Buffalo and New York City and beyond, and Leecia Eve is here, she knows what I'm talking about. She knows that experience. It just gave that jolt of confidence to a place like Buffalo and all the other communities that you service as well. So, never forget what that means to the smaller markets who are now part of a bigger story. They feel that connection. I felt that profoundly back at that time. And so, these investments here today change the psychology of communities as well. Not just what we're doing here, but the connections we're making elsewhere.

I'm so excited that people can come here, stay at that extraordinary TWA hotel. How visionary was that? And this terminal will actually be a destination itself. So, I want to thank JetBlue again. Yes, you are New York's hometown airline. You can say that anywhere you want. You truly are. And I just want to thank you for all you've done here. I want to thank the JFK Millennium Partners, the Port Authority, the Redevelopment Council - extraordinary partners throughout this process. We got this far because of your vision, your willingness to just stand up through some tough times, make the hard decisions, and get the job done.

And an important part of this, as I talk about the economic impact, the 30 percent MWBE participation is so critical to the success of not just this project, but to the success of the community around, a community that deserves recognition. Southeast Queens and other areas where people can count on those jobs, from minority and women-owned businesses and the emphasis on local hiring, how important is that? And thank you again for pushing that and pushing that.

The local business opportunities, businesses like Creative Construction Services in Cambria Heights, Jetway Security, right here in Jamaica. These are businesses that'll be forever changed. They go from a little guy to a big guy overnight when they get a contract at a place like this. That's how transformative this is. So, I'm excited about this.

And I just lastly want to say, we love infrastructure, we love building. And isn't it great to have partners in Washington? Yes. Congressman Greg Meeks and others, but let's start with the President, Joe Biden, who is making sure that we have money for infrastructure to do the building that was delayed and deferred for decades. And also, to have the majority leader, Chuck Schumer, and his great partner, Kirsten Gillibrand. We have the team that is delivering for all of us, and as Governor, I don't take that for granted for one second. Our delegation, Greg Meeks and others, thank you. Thank you for what you're doing because you understand the importance.

But now as we turn the page on the pandemic and hope and believe that the last of the ravages of the social and economic impacts are over, I know that New York is going to continue to grow. Its vibrancy is unparalleled. And part of that is just in our DNA. You know, this is what we do. We always reimagine, we build anew, we seize opportunities to do even better than those who came before us.

You know, this year we're celebrating some more milestones on the Erie Canal, transformed Upstate, made connections that people just thought were crazy. There's a whole story, it was actually devised by someone who was sitting in prison. Did you know that? I'll give you that whole story another day, but it is amazing. Someone sitting in prison had a lot of time on their hands and they said, how can we connect Upstate to New York City and transform what was a little village here to be the economic powerhouse for the planet? And we do things like that. So, I'm born and raised in an Erie Canal community, so I know the great potential. We've overcome so much. The Spanish Flu a century ago, didn't stop us from expanding the subway system and building bridges. The Great Depression didn't stop us from building the world's tallest buildings, the Empire State Building.

So even when we were emerging from World War I and II, we kept building LaGuardia, the Midtown Tunnel, Whitestone Bridge. And COVID didn't stop us. We'll be launching Grand Central Madison in a couple of days. I'm so excited about this. And this project will be on that long line of transformative projects that others, a little more faint of heart might have said, "We can't do this. It's too big. It's too grandiose, especially during a pandemic." But I'm here to say the people who have that DNA, that desire to be the best that the world has to offer, never gave up, never wavered, and that is why we are here after 14 extraordinary months of announcement, after announcement, after announcement to show we have the courage, we have the heart to continue pushing New York State forward. This project today is a symbol of that, and I could not be prouder to be here. And I want to thank everyone involved, starting with our next speaker, Rick Cotton.

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