Westchester body ups airport P3 pressure

The Business Council of Westchester (BCW) has urged the use of P3 in a submission to the draft scope for the masterplan for the Westchester County Airport.

BCW Executive Vice President John Ravitz expressed support for inclusion of the model in a letter submitted on behalf of the newly established Coalition for Westchester Airport, a group of businesses and residents in support of the P3.

The letter also endorsed 10 steps to address issues such as the reduction of the airport’s environmental footprint, the preservation of the quality of life in nearby communities, the delivery of additional wastewater treatment capacity as well as improvement controls around stormwater and general flooding.

Ravitz said: “We cite all the above-mentioned points to emphasize that a great deal of work has already been completed to give us the answers that are needed to create a responsible public/private partnership.”

Macquarie, the firm recommended for the operation of the airport by the county’s board of legislators in 2017, had previously outlined how to address such priorities.

Awarded in 2017 during the administration of Republican county executive Rob Astorino, the $1.1bn P3 has been the subject of a long-running debate after Democrat George Latimer replaced Astorino in January 2018, saying he would reconsider leasing the airport to a private operator.

Ravitz said: “The Coalition is looking to enhance not expand the airport by ensuring that the county works with a partner who has the resources, capacity and proven track record to make important quality of life and environmental enhancements in a transparent manner that engages the business, traveling and neighboring communities.

“The BCW and the Coalition for Westchester Airport strongly recommends that the county not take 10 steps backward in this process, but instead embrace the exciting and important enhancements that can be developed.”