The Business Council of Westchester this week announced the formation of a new pro-airport group called the Coalition for Westchester Airport, which will be advocating for responsible enhancements at the airport and believes that a public/private partnership is the right approach for Westchester County.
Citing the importance of the airport for economic development, John Ravitz, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the BCW, urged the business, aviation, and broader Westchester community to join in support by emailing Ivette Ramos of the BCW today.
Important Message from John Ravitz:
The future of Westchester County Airport is at stake. Opponents have mobilized, and critics have been outspoken. Now is the time for the business, aviation, and broader Westchester community to express how crucial the airport is for the county’s overall economic environment. As such, we urge you to join the newly-formed, pro-airport group called the Coalition for Westchester Airport.
Not only is Westchester Airport a key element in the county’s transportation infrastructure. It also is essential for economic development in that it helps to attract and retain businesses to Westchester, serves as an incubator for workforce development, and supports thousands of jobs in diverse industries.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer recently conducted a series of public hearings focused on the future of the airport. Held in three communities that border the facility, the hearings were dominated by the opposition and created an optic that “almost everyone” is against it. On behalf of the Business Council of Westchester (BCW), I stood up and spoke at each of the hearings, but otherwise, the opposition was well organized and highly motivated.
The goal of the Coalition for Westchester Airport is being created to unify supporters; provide an outlet for positive views to be expressed, and to assure that the record of the public proceedings is not overwhelmed by a relatively small (considering Westchester’s population of 1 million residents) group of opponents.
The BCW has long supported enhancing the airport in a responsible way. We also believe in public-private partnerships and are confident the approach would work well for Westchester County Airport. Public-private partnerships are being successfully used across the United States as well as globally and there is no reason they would be any less successful here. This is the ideal way to unleash the capital needed to make much-needed facilities updates and improve environmental safeguards with no burden to the taxpayers.
It is important to understand that the county itself has never operated the airport. Since it opened more than 70 years ago, the airport has been run by private operators under contract with the county. Under a public-private partnership, the county retains overall control of the airport and no expansion or other major change could be undertaken without a vote by the Board of Legislators. No expansion has been proposed. The BCW also believes that the county should work cooperatively with the Federal Aviation Administration as we continue to make positive enhancement at the airport.
To join the Coalition for Westchester Airport, please email Ivette Ramos of the Business Council of Westchester at IRamos@thebcw.org today. We will be organizing quickly, and we look forward to working together to make a positive impact on the airport and the future of Westchester County. Stay tuned for updates on this crucially important issue.