Gov. Cuomo awards $30M for CNY drone industry

Central New York $30 million drone award

[Editor’s Note: The funds will be used to develop drone infrastructure and testing facilities.]

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Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday New York State will invest $30 million to help Central New York develop drone infrastructure and testing facilities.

The announcement came during the last day of a prestigious 3-day drone conference featuring NASA and the FAA.

Governor Cuomo told the room, “I’m here because I want you and this industry locating in Central New York.”

The conference attracted nearly 700 people including representatives from companies like Amazon, Google, and Intel.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney tells NewsChannel 9, “We went out to the industry leaders and said what will it take for you to come here to Central New York.  They need the infrastructure to test, to create the traffic rules for the FAA so we can commercialize drones, Amazon, your local pizza place, there are no rules in place for now that traffic is managed.”

“This unmanned aerial industry is going to develop somewhere and the County Executive’s point is it should develop here in Central New York and we will create the conditions to bring it here.”  Cuomo added.

The money is earmarked for NUAIR, which operates at Griffiss International Airport in Rome N.Y., one of only six FAA drone test sites in the county.  The design is to construct a 50-mile airstrip for testing drones between Griffiss

NUAIR Executive Director Larry Brinker says, “It’s a big amount taxpayer money and we want to make sure we spend it properly, we want to make sure we are accountable and transparent and all of those sorts of things.”

Brinker says his team at NUAIR will start meeting next week to figure out exactly what needs to be done to create this airstrip that the Governor wants up and running by 2018.

Mahoney says, “This is a moment in time that people are going to look back on and say this was fantastic for CNY that we invested in this cutting edge industry.”

The region has stressed developments in the Unmanned Aerial Systems industry as a major strategy outlined in the Central NY Rising plan.

The plan earned the region last December $500 million in Gov. Cuomo’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative.


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