Astorino Names Macquarie Infrastructure To Run Westchester County Airport

Real Estate In-Depth | November 15, 2017

WHITE PLAINS—Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced on Nov. 9th that he had selected Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation to operate Westchester County Airport as part of a $1.1-billion public-private partnership dedicated to improving this vital county asset without expanding its footprint.

Macquarie was the unanimous choice of a bi-partisan task force made up of members of the Astorino administration and the Board of Legislators to evaluate the three proposals received in April to manage, operate, maintain and improve the airport.

“The goal from the start has been a better, not bigger airport,” Astorino said. “This proposal does just that.”

Macquarie’s winning proposal will net the county $1.145 billion over the course of a 40-year lease— a $595-million financial offer accompanied by $550 million in capital funds to maintain and improve the airport’s infrastructure. Under the terms of the lease, the county will receive just over $300 million upfront, which includes lease payments, money transferred to the general fund from county money locked at the airport and various reimbursements.

The county will be able to use $30 million the first year ($6.5 million from the first year’s lease payment; $21 million transferred to the general fund from the airport; and $2.5 million in expense reimbursements). In addition, the county will also be reimbursed $10 million for police costs at the airport, and those reimbursements will increase 2.5% a year over the term of the lease and total $674 million. The lease requires 12 votes for passage.

County Executive Astorino released the $1.8-billion 2018 budget that calls for no tax hike, but does include the $30-million airport vendor payment to close a budget deficit of the same amount.

Democratic county legislators criticized the Astorino budget for using the $30-million airport payment to close the deficit.

BOL Chairman Mike Kaplowitz in a statement on the airport privatization proposal, “I believe that it is appropriate to take into consideration the opinions of County Executive-Elect George Latimer during our budget deliberations. I also believe that any decision regarding the privatization of the Westchester County Airport should not be undertaken until the new administration has an opportunity to fully research the RFP respondents’ proposals.”

County Executive-elect Latimer during his campaign said he was against the county’s airport privatization plan.