Tompkins County Legislature Hears From Opponents To Ithaca Airport Expansion

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Celia Clarke/WSKG Public Media

Photo by Celia Clarke, WSKG.

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – The planned expansion at Ithaca’s airport was on the agenda at Tuesday night’s Tompkins County Legislature meeting.

Airport Director Mike Hall said the ongoing expansion is at the halfway point and, during thee past year, has generated about $22-million in economic activity for the county. That number includes wages for the construction jobs.

The legislature also heard from six opponents to the expansion who want all construction to stop. They are part of the Tompkins County Immigration Coalition which in recent months has increased its public opposition to the airport expansion.

Their main objection is the addition of a customs building and one customs inspector. Customs is part of the federal Customs and Border Protection, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.

County Administrator Jason Molino has met with the opponents to discuss the purpose of the federal agencies at the Ithaca airport.

“Their purpose is inspection of incoming aircraft. It’s not an enforcement, or an immigration enforcement perspective…This is not an a border patrol officer. This is not an ICE officer.”

The legislature voted unanimously to move forward with the next phase of the expansion.