Griffo, Brindisi Announce $600K Grant for Griffiss International Airport

ROME – Sen. Joseph A. Griffo and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi jointly announced today that the state has awarded $600,000 to Griffiss International Airport to cover a portion of Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR)’s start-up operating costs.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently selected Griffiss International Airport as one of six national sites for drone aircraft development. The airport has teamed with NUAIR, an alliance of 40 private, academic and military institutions, to lead research and testing to determine how drone aircraft can be integrated into the national airspace.

The funding comes from a 2013-14 state budget allocation designated to strengthen and protect federal installations, such as in Rome, and prevent them from being closed or realigned by the federal government. The alliance has already raised more than $700,000 in private donations and in-kind services.

It’s anticipated the initiative will create 468 jobs and generate $10 million in tax revenue, with a $145 million total impact on the state.

“The creation and implementation of unmanned aircraft systems is an industry full of great potential,” said Griffo, R-Rome. “The Mohawk Valley is already known as a hub for cybertechnology, so this new drone research will help solidify our position as a leader in creating jobs for the 21st century economy. It is my hope that we continue to make a significant investment in this operation so that we can remain competitive with other FAA-designated sites across the country.”

“This project is part of a very significant change in our economy—one that is leading to a number of good-paying, high tech jobs,” said Brindisi, D-Utica. “NUAIR has put together a highly successful plan for this project that will bring together partners from many different backgrounds, and it is important that we provide adequate resources to make Griffiss the country’s premier drone test site.”

“Our most enthusiastic ‘thank you’ to Senator Griffo and Assemblyman Brindisi in securing this grant for the benefit of Griffiss International Airport,” said NUAIR Alliance Executive Director Larry Brinker. "Whether it's improving agriculture output, helping first responders, advancing scientific research, or making business more efficient, unmanned aircraft systems are capable of saving time, saving money and most importantly saving lives. These benefits might not be realized without the visionary effort of these two New York leaders.”