By Bill Parry
When Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled plans last week for a $13 billion project that will transform JFK International Airport into a 21st century venue increasing capacity by at least 15 million passengers annually, he also vowed extensive community opportunities would be created, including an office to assist with contracting and job placement that will open in Jamaica this fall.
Two brand-new, international terminal complexes, containing a total of 4.1 billion square feet, will replace three existing terminals at the north and south of the airport. The plan also features expanded taxiway and gate capacity, state-of-the-art security, streamlines roadway access and centralized ground transportation options.
“While leaders in Washington talk about investing in infrastructure, we’re actually doing it at historic levels and the transformation of JFK Airport into a 21st century transportation hub will ensure New York remains the nation’s front door to the world,” Cuomo said. “This historic investment to modernize JFK Airport and the surrounding transportation network will not only ease travel through this major hub, but it will ensure JFK ranks as one of the finest airports in the world.”
The governor’s JFK Vision Plan initially, presented in January 2017, calls for the overhaul of eight disparate terminal sites into one unified JFK Airport by demolishing old terminals, utilizing vacant space, and modernizing on-airport infrastructure, while incorporating the latest in passenger amenities and technological innovations.
JFK Airport is one of the region’s most powerful economic engines, supporting nearly 300,000 jobs that pay $16.2 billion in wages annually while generating $45.7 billion in yearly sales. Together, the new terminals are estimated to create more than 9,600 direct jobs, including construction work and more than 15,000 total jobs over the life of the project.
“The redevelopment of JFK has the potential to provide many great opportunities, and I want to make sure that those opportunities are also reaped by those that live closest to the airport,” state Sen. James Sanders (D-South Ozone Park) said. “We look forward to the Community Benefits Agreement that solidifies the state’s commitment to the residents of southeast Queens, and we are delighted by the 30 percent goal for Minority and Women-Owned Enterprises contracting and look forward to helping the governor and the Port Authority reach that goal.”
The governor also announced the creation of the JFK Redevelopment Community Advisory Council, composed of elected officials, community boards, nonprofit organizations, civic organizations and clergy leaders. The council will be chaired by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica), who will work with the Port Authority to expand community outreach efforts that are already underway.
“The $13 billion overhaul of John F. Kennedy (Airport) will be instrumental in ensuring continued economic growth and development across Queens,” Katz said. “A project of this magnitude will bring many opportunities to the community in southeast Queens, as well as encouraging additional investment from the state.”
Construction is expected to begin in 2020 with the first new gates scheduled to open in 2023. Substantial completion is expected in 2025.
“These upgrades will make a real difference in the lives of New Yorkers who frequent JFK, and for visitors whose first impression of the state is the moment they step off the plane,” state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) said. “I have lived near the airport all my life and understand it’s importance to our local economy and job growth. I applaud Gov. Cuomo for staying true to his promise to improve our infrastructure and grow New York’s economy.”
The $13 billion project will be funded by $12 billion in private investment, according to Cuomo’s office.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr