News story by 13 WHAM News by Ashley Doerzbacher

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) – Rochester won again Wednesday in an upstate funding competition for airport funding.

Governor Andrew Cuomo was at the Greater Rochester International Airport Wednesday morning to announce the winners of the airport funding contest. Rochester won the overall largest award for the competition, which looked at airports from 16 different cities.

“This airport is literally going to be transformed into a state-of-the-art airport,” Governor Cuomo said Wednesday morning at the US Airports Hangar along Scottsville Road.

In total, Rochester received $39.8 million Wednesday to make changes and upgrades at the airport. The funding is part of a $63.4 million transformation awarded to Rochester. The money comes from the first phase of the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition.

Commissioner Matthew Dricoll of the New York State Department of Transportation said Rochester’s proposal hit on all the key points of improving the economy, bringing a more sophisticated approach to technology in the airport and incorporating sustainability and renewable energy.

Commissioner Driscoll added that the airport project is all about building on and for the future, saying it will be “world class passenger experience.”

People traveling through the airport will begin to see changes as soon as the arrive. New signage welcoming you to the airport and a new solar-powered canopy.

“Airports today are different than they were 10, 15 years ago. They’re destinations in and of themselves,” Cuomo said. “People expect to fly in and have all the amenities they have at these new, state of the art airports. They’ll have business meeting in the airport, have a meal in the airport.”

For that reason, updates will include:

  • More shopping and dining locations within the airport
  • Security updates with more TSA scanners and license plate readers
  • Color-coded navigation between concourses
  • A digital hub for flight information
  • Phone and tablet charging stations
  • A playground for the children designed by Golisano Children’s Hospital

“It’s not like it was when people would just go to the airport for family vacation and leave. This is about business and economic development and having that front door that welcomes business and says this is a region that is growing.”

The airport will also be working with RIT National Technical Institute for the Deaf to serve as a national model for the hearing impaired and create a business incubator on site to further expand and develop accessibility technologies for airports.

The project is expected to take two to three years to complete. The airport will be open for business during construction.

Renderings of the new designs can be seen here.