Updated 08/02/2012 07:00 PM
Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport receives grant
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ITHACA, N.Y. -- A surprise grant of nearly $500,000 will keep flights moving at the Ithaca Airport this winter.
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer announced the $475,000 award this week. The money will be used to replace an airport snow plow, that keeps the 2.5 million square feet of asphalt free of snow and safe for planes.
The current plow is about 25 years old, although it has been refurbished. The airport manager says the new equipment is crucial, as the number of passengers increases every year.
"Last year, we had record passenger numbers. And the year before that, we had record numbers. Last year we broke the record from the year before. That's a tribute to the airfares, competitive airfares. And I think the fact that people prefer using this airport because it's smaller and easier to handle," said Bob Nicholas, Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport Manager.
The airport operates on a budget of about $3 million a year.