The federal government will be sending almost $54 million in transportation funds to Westchester, according to U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
In a joint announcement today, they said the Federal Aviation Administration is providing $23,607,111 for the Westchester County airport and the Federal Transit Administration is providing $30,180,206 for the county’s Bee-Line Bus System.
The Bee-Line bus system serves over 27 million passengers annually, and with 65% of all Westchester County residents within walking distance to a Bee-Line route, the service plays an essential role in the Westchester County economy. The funding from the FTA can be used to cover operating expenses, such as driver salaries, fuel and personal protective equipment and supplies.
Westchester County Airport was built in 1942 as an Air National Guard station to protect New York City during WWII. The airport served over 1.5 million passengers in 2019 and was expected to exceed that number in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted the airline industry. The funding from the FAA will be used to ensure employee retention and make improvements to ensure the airport operates safely and follows public health requirements for distancing and cleaning.
Schumer said, “This federal funding will offset the devastating financial impacts that the pandemic has had on the Westchester County Airport and the Bee-Line, equipping them with the tools needed to properly rebuild and recover after the crisis is over.”
Gillibrand noted, “The COVID-19 crisis has had major implications on New York’s transportation systems. Now more than ever, we must secure reliable transit for first responders, health care workers, and citizens who depend on it.”
The airport’s main runway used for airline flights has been closed for repaving and there has been no air carrier activity at the airport during May. Prior to the closing, the number of flights into and out of the airport was cut as the number of air travelers shrank due to the virus outbreak. Delta Airlines recently announced the elimination of service at Westchester Airport even when the main runway reopens.