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Climate Change

Interstate Access, Plenty of Parking at the “Green” Airport

During his State of the State address, Governor Spitzer claimed that his administration is "turning Stewart Airport into an economic engine for the Hudson Valley and an environmental model for the world: the very first carbon-negative airport." In this morning's New York Times, we see the Port Authority, touting SIA as an air congestion reliever for metro NYC, making similar claims about the airport's green credentials.

Though there is talk of "terminals, baggage equipment, offices, stores and restaurants that do not produce greenhouse gas emissions," and even "produce or support enough green energy to begin to offset the emissions generated by the planes," the one attraction to be confirmed so far is ease of parking:

''Stewart can be kind of a beacon for a lot of things,'' said Anthony Shorris, executive director of the Port Authority, which has a 93-year lease on Stewart and runs the other three airports. ''An anchor for growth in the Hudson Valley, a major reliever of the other airports, a cargo and job-generating facility for a new economic growth pattern, and a demonstration of the potential for sustainable development in aviation.''

Change is already unmistakable: A new exit off Interstate 84 and wide new access roads now lead to the airport. A 350-space parking lot went up in three weeks and new chairs abound in the baggage claim area.

Shorris foresees 3 million annual passengers using Stewart within a few years. The attractions will include an easy trip to the airport, plenty of parking, comfortable terminals and flights taking off on schedule, he said.

Dan Hurwitz, a 60-year-old math teacher at Skidmore College, recently drove 100 miles to Stewart from his home in Saratoga Springs because a flight to Sarasota, Fla., was cheaper from Stewart than from the Albany airport closer to his home.

''Parking was really easy in the credit-card lot,'' he said. ''They told me to be here two hours early but everything's fast. I could have come an hour later.''

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