Legislators approve shuttle service for airport

PLATTSBURGH - A new shuttle service is in the works for Plattsburgh International Airport.

The Clinton County Legislature approved a resolution during its regular meeting March 23 that will allow for the county to negotiate a contract with Republic Parking System, of Chattanooga, Tenn. The motion was made by Legislator Dr. Robert Heins, R-Area 10, and seconded by Legislator Harry McManus, D-Area 1. Legislators Sara E. Rowden, D-Area 4, and Jacqueline A. Walker, R-Area 8, were absent.

According to Heins, who chairs the Legislature's Airport Committee, the need for a shuttle service has increased as the amount of parking space has grown at the property.

"We've reach critical mass, to be honest with you, at the airport," said Heins. "We've grown to a point where we've got to do some emergency measures to try to continue to do what we're doing."

The shuttle service would be one such measure, which would be provided free for airport visitors, said Heins. The cost of the service - for which the county was authorized to contract at a cost not to exceed $21,000 a year - would be covered by revenue generated from parking fees established at the facility March 1. Heins stated the county had already collected approximately $59,000 in fees in the first three weeks of charging for parking. It's estimated the fees could result in $720,000 to $1 million collected per year.

"There's a greater turnover out there than we thought there'd be," Heins said, referring to the number of people using and paying for parking services at the airport.

That has led the Legislature to examine an expansion of airport parking facilities, which have begun to exceed their 1,250-vehicle capacity.

"We really maxed out with the parking. There really is no place to park," said Heins, who added creating an additional lot is being eyed near the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base Alert Facility.

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