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>New terminal is crucial at Niagara Falls Airport

The purpose of this letter is to express our strong support for the construction of a new terminal at the Niagara Falls International Airport.

The Niagara Falls Transportation Authority realizes that the NFIA, if properly developed, can be an extremely vital catalyst for economic development in Niagara County and Western New York as a whole.

Critics claim that the Niagara Falls International Airport is underutilized and that it should not be developed because it sits just 18 miles away from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. They must realize that it is underutilized because of the limitations of its facilities.

Congress has already provided for $20 million in runway and apron upgrades since 1983. In addition, Reps. Thomas Reynolds and Louise Slaughter have worked hard to pledge another $3.1 million in federal money for the terminal upgrade project.

Seneca Niagara Casino slot revenue and additional potential funds from the state transportation bond issue will provide the additional funds to make the upgrade a reality.

In terms of hospitality and tourism, our area attracts 22 million visitors annually. Simply put, an upgraded and modern NFIA is needed to bring additional tourists to the area.

The fact of the matter is that the BNIA is indeed only about 10 miles from Niagara Falls, but it might as well be 100 miles away. Tourists simply cannot conveniently get to Niagara Falls from the Buffalo airport. As a result, a significant opportunity is missed.

The Niagara Falls International Airport is strategically located, easily accessible and poised to take advantage of growth opportunities in our economy. Major expressways link the airport to the region's major population centers, and it services a market base of nearly 8 million people from Toronto to Rochester. Driving time between NFIA and Toronto is less than 120 minutes; between NFIA and Rochester, it is approximately 60 minutes.

Six U.S.-Canada border crossings provide easy movement of vehicles and goods.

Services at the NFIA are affordable and accessible. The 10,000-foot runway can accommodate the largest passenger and freighter aircraft. There are no landing restrictions or congestion and no noise restrictions or curfews. The runways are always open, and the facility operates 24 hours a day, with fast and efficient Customs clearance.

The only thing holding the NFIA back from major success is the lack of a modern, functional terminal building. We applaud the NFTA's plans and efforts for the construction of such a facility.

Economic growth in Niagara County absolutely depends on the establishment of a first-class functional airport terminal facility at NFIA.

We strongly support the construction of a new terminal at the Niagara Falls International Airport. This facility will propel the NFIA into an economic catalyst for economic development in Niagara County and all of Western New York.

Gordon Knapp

Chairman, Niagara County Leaders Encouraging Action and Progress Committee

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