Jun. 7—PLATTSBURGH — A measure that would save Plattsburgh International Airport big bucks is moving closer to approval in Washington.
North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) said Wednesday that a piece of her legislation that would designate the airport as a Port of Entry has advanced out of the House Committee on Ways & Means.
"I am so proud of this development in my bipartisan legislation to designate Plattsburgh International Airport as a Port of Entry," Stefanik told the Press-Republican in a statement.
"This piece of legislation is a no-brainer because it saves money and makes logistical sense. Great news for Clinton County."
Plattsburgh International Airport is one of only two primary commercial service airports near the Northern or Southern Border designated as user-fee airports. This requires the airports to pay out of pocket for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) services, such as security screenings, cargo security and examinations, and immigration inspections.
This designation change will save the Plattsburgh International Airport roughly $600,000 per year.
The county has been seeking to land this designation for years.
"This is exciting news for Clinton County and we are one step closer to receiving a Port of Entry Designation for the Plattsburgh International Airport," Mark Henry, Chairperson of the Clinton County Legislature (R-Area 3, Chazy), said.
"This designation will save Clinton County hundreds of thousands of dollars and it quite simply just makes practical sense. We applaud Congresswoman Stefanik for her efforts in moving this through the House of Representatives, and we thank our senators for their continued efforts in the Senate."
North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said the region cannot thank Stefanik enough.
"Just three weeks after meeting in Washington and pointing to this measure as a key 2023 priority, Congresswoman Stefanik has the first step in the Congressional process underway," Douglas said.
"And Senators Gillibrand and Schumer are both committed to seeing action this year in the Senate as well. We have stayed in active communication with all three offices and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. We can all see the opportunity for a really collaborative and bipartisan win for the North Country. Onward and upward."
"This is wonderful news for Clinton County. We thank her very much," Bobby Hall (D-Area 10, City of Plattsburgh) chairman of the airport committee said.
"We're an airport right on the border, so this makes sense. We appreciate her hard work."
The measure that would designate PBG a Port of Entry is part of Stefanik's bipartisan Border Airport Enhancement Act. The bill would also support the Valley International Airport (HRL) in Harlingen, Texas.
Stefanik has worked with the HRL's Representative, Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), on this legislation.
PBG and Valley International Airport are the only two user-fee Primary Commercial Service airports in the country that are in close proximity to a land or border crossing, and are not international or landing rights airports, that have yet to be designated already as a port of entry.
Without this port of entry classification, airports like PBG have been stuck footing the bill for the salaries of federal agents who work in its customs.
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