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Central New York drone corridor left out of national project

Payne Horning
WRVO News File Photo
Last summer, NASA participated in a drone demonstration at the Griffiss International Airport to test a traffic management system for unmanned aerial vehicles.

The 50-mile drone corridor that the state is building in central New York will not be part of a new federal pilot program meant to accelerate drone integration into national airspace.

The Department of Transportation's program is a partnership with state and local governments to establish innovation zones for testing drone operations and traffic management systems. New York state and Amazon filed a joint application to participate in the initiative, but they were not selected.

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) said the news was "boggling" considering that similar work is underway in central New York in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration and NASA.

"This would’ve expanded on what we’re already doing here in the central New York area," Brindisi said. "We really have one of the best test sites in the world and we want to see this industry grow, and we should be a leader in that area. And I think this partnership the state put together with Amazon was certainly a step in the right direction to furthering the progress we have made at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park with the drone test site."

Brindisi, a Democrat, and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, a Republican, suggested that central New York may have been passed overy by the Trump Administration for political reasons. They have reached out to the federal government to demand answers on why their application was rejected.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.