Larkin Pushes Hard For Local Labor Projects

William J. Larkin, Jr.

March 22, 2006

Calling for the release of $1 million in labor agreement funding set aside in 1999 for projects associated with Stewart International Airport, Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) has appealed to the Governor’s office and the New York State Division of the Budget, for immediate action.

When the National Express Group leased Stewart International Airport from the state in 1999, it made an initial lease payment of $35 million. Of this $35 million, $1 million was set aside in an agreement with local labor organizations in Orange County as funding that would be designated for future labor projects.

"For six years, since the privatization of Stewart International Airport, I have been looking for answers from the New York State Division of the Budget concerning this allocation of funding," said Senator Larkin. "The stumbling block appears to be that there was no clear language in the original agreement about how this $1 million could be spent. I believe that DOB, in its inability to make a decision, is clearly stalling on this matter. Why is this money that was designated for projects in Orange County sitting unused? We have had countless meetings and officials there know that I have been calling for a definition on the spending criteria. Over the years I have appealed to the Governor’s office, the NYS Department of Transportation, the Comptroller, the Senate Finance Committee, and officials overseeing the Regional Aviation Fund to demand a decision by DOB. The longer we do nothing with this funding, the more opportunities we will lose for area jobs and their benefits to the local economy."

Senator Larkin anticipates clarification by DOB shortly.