WXXI AM News

Cuomo: Rochester's airport is the 'front door'

Apr 25, 2017

Governor Cuomo addresses gathering in Rochester
Credit Alex Crichton

Governor Cuomo visited Rochester Tuesday to take part in a groundbreaking ceremony marking the $60 million dollar transformation of the Greater Rochester International Airport.

Cuomo arrived at the event in a car driven by a former Lyft driver, Rita Bentley of Rochester.

"She's going to be a Lyft driver again. We signed the law that allows Uber and Lyft to operate in Upstate New York.  So in just a few short weeks, she's going to be back at work," he said.

Bentley says she's excited at the prospect of driving again for the ride-hailing service.

"Economically speaking, I can't wait.  I have two children, so I'm raising them.  And it was just an overall experience...to meet new people...kept the streets a little safer," she said.

Inside the event, held at the New York Division Of Military and Naval Affairs, Cuomo told the gathering that bringing Uber and Lyft to upstate is essential.

And so is having a 21st century airport, something Cuomo calls the "front door" to the Finger Lakes region.

Rendering of new smartphone lot at the airport

"Show people at the front door.  Show them who you are, when that plane touches down.  And that is your airport," he said.

Cuomo says the state is proudly investing $40 million dollars into the $60 million dollar airport project.

Rochester was a winner in Cuomo's upstate airport competition.

Officials later broke ground on a new smartphone lot, while improvements are already underway at the terminal.

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo says the upgrades will have a huge economic development impact in Monroe County.

Local officials maintain the project will be finished by the end of next year.

Here's County Executive Dinolfo on the work being done on GRIA: