RONKONKOMA - Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he wants to provide $6 million for a federal customs inspection facility at MacArthur Airport, which would allow international flights to use the Ronkonkoma air terminal.
"Let the international traffic come right to MacArthur. It'll spur economic development on the Island. It'll reduce commutation time. MacArthur has great potential physically," says Gov. Cuomo.
The governor also wants to hire a private company to run Republic Airport in Farmingdale and reserve nearly 15 acres at the airport for aviation businesses and other commercial development.
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Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter and business experts say Cuomo's plan will boost tax revenue and increase convenience for Long Islanders who travel overseas.
"Bringing in international flights here, rather than people having to go LaGuardia or JFK…is going to be a major convenience to our residents. Plus, it's going to be a shot in the arm for the airport," says Carpenter.
Conversely, Anthony Persico, of the Bohemia Civic Association, says that increased air traffic will destroy the quality of life for residents. Persico also says the revenue made from international flights will stay with airport and won't benefit the community.
"People in Bohemia and Ronkonkoma will be affected by the roads, the traffic, the noise," he says. "There's no compensation coming back to the community."
The plan is part of Cuomo's proposed state budget, which will be delivered to the state Legislature on Jan. 13.