State’s Commitment to Tourism Bolstered in 2017-2018 New York State Budget

Apr 12, 2017

New York State continues to attract visitors from across the country and around the world. As a cornerstone of state's economy, tourism directly supports more than 914,000 jobs and generates billions of dollars in direct spending across the Empire State each year, including more than $63 billion in 2015/16. The recently enacted FY 2017-18 New York State Budget includes $70 million for I LOVE NEW YORK to further boost the already significant impact through statewide tourism promotion. This includes funding for Tourism Matching Grants and Market NY, as well as Welcome Centers in each region of the state that are modeled after the successful Long Island Welcome Center.

Additional tourism-related items in this year's budget include:

Creating the Nation's Largest Multi-Use Trail Network: The Empire State Trail: The State Budget provides $200 million to complete the Hudson River Valley Greenway and Erie Canalway trails and creates the 750-mile Empire State Trail, the largest state multi-use trail in the nation, which provide new opportunities for hiking and biking along scenic vistas and through charming, historic communities, driving tourism and economic activity across New York.

Buffalo Billion Phase II: The Budget allocates $500 million for the Buffalo Billion Phase II, building on the success of the past six years of development with a focus on revitalization and smart growth efforts, improvements to workforce development and job training, growing advanced manufacturing, tourism and life sciences, and connecting communities to foster growth through rail expansion.

State Fair Modernization: The Budget also provides $70 million in capital funding to continue modernizing the State Fair, which saw record attendance levels in 2016. Phase Two includes $50 million to continue building the new New York State Fairgrounds and $20 million to construct a new on-ramp to I-690 West and other improvements to the State Fairgrounds' Orange parking lot.

Master Plan to Redevelop Frontier Town into the “Gateway to the Adirondacks” at Northway Exit 29 in North Hudson: The 2017-18 State Budget includes funding for the $32 million public private partnership to create a world-class tourism destination at the site of Frontier Town in the Adirondacks.

Olympic Regional Development Authority Capital Improvements: The Budget includes $28 million in new capital funding to transform ORDA facilities, including $20 million to enhance the current facilities at Gore and Whiteface Mountains, as well as $8 million in upgrades at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center, to create state-of-the art skiing, lodging, dining and retail opportunities and year-round activities.

NY Parks 2020 Initiative: Advancing the NY Parks 2020 initiative, which is investing $900 million to upgrade and repair our State Parks, the Budget allocates $120 million in New York Works capital funding to aid the ongoing transformation of the state's flagship parks and support critical infrastructure projects.

Adventure NY Program: The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will launch the Adventure NY program, which will improve access to State lands, rehabilitate campgrounds, and upgrade DEC recreational facilities.

Local Waterfront Revitalization Program: On our waterfronts, the Department of State Local Waterfront Revitalization Program helps communities re-imagine and revitalize their hidden assets to attract new development opportunities and invigorate new economic growth engines like tourism. The Budget includes amendments to State law that allow Local Waterfront Revitalization matching funds from the Environmental Protection Fund to be increased from 50 percent to 75 percent for all projects and 85 percent for projects in Environmental Justice communities, affording greater flexibility for applicants to meet the local share for complex neighborhood redevelopment planning projects.

Delivering Ride Sharing for Upstate New York: The Budget authorizes Transportation Network Companies, such as Uber and Lyft, to operate across New York and creates uniform licensing standards. The state will also establish minimum standards to ensure passenger safety, including mandatory background checks, ongoing monitoring for traffic safety, anti-discrimination protections, and zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policies.

JFK Transformation: The State Budget invests $564 million to reconfigure the Grand Central/Van Wyck interchange and the Van Wyck itself, saving motorists a combined travel time of 7.4 million hours annually going to and from JFK. The transformation of this vital artery is an essential component of the Port Authority's JFK Master Plan, which is reimaging JFK International Airport for the next century of growth and provides the impetus for private sector investment, driving the total investment potential as high as $10 billion.

Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition: Last year, the Governor established the $200 million Upstate Economic Development and Revitalization Competition. In Round II, Plattsburgh International Airport will receive $38.1 million to jumpstart the airport's $43 million overhaul and Syracuse Hancock International Airport will receive $35.8 million towards their $48.8 million transformation. The bold plans and designs developed by these airports will enhance safety, improve operations and access, reduce environmental impact, and create a better passenger experience.

Moynihan Train Hall at the New Penn-Farley Complex: The 2017-18 State Budget commits $700 million to advance Governor Cuomo's sweeping plans to transform the historic James A. Farley Post Office into a world-class transportation hub. The Moynihan Train Hall will have more space than Grand Central's main concourse, housing both Amtrak and LIRR ticketing and waiting areas, along with state-of-the-art security features and a modern, digital passenger experience.

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Submitted by Eric Scheffel, 518-292-5274, eric.scheffel@esd.ny.gov