The following is a letter sent to New York Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, in regard to the pledges made to the public. The pledged results are about the domestic drone testing facility at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, NY. This is part of an on-going series of articles about domestic drones, especially in New York.
The letter was sent on June 16, 2015. For the full article visit Binghamton Political Buzz Examiner.com.
This is an on the record request for information, from the Examiner.com.
On April 2, 2014, you were quoted as having helped to fund Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR) via grants and the NY State budget [WRVO – http://innovationtrail.org/post/upstate-ny-drone-test-site-gets-another-1-million-funding].
On April 1, 2015, you were part of a joint statement (along with State Senator Griffo) taking credit for providing $1 million from the State budget for NUAIR alliance and the Griffiss Drone Testing Site [Rome Sentinel – http://romesentinel.com/county/budget-includes-1m-for-drone-testing-at-griffiss/QBqoda!2Q92BHeP3s9xdScmixhxw/].
In news items over the past several years you have either been directly quoted or stated agreement with projections that the Drone Testing Site will create between 468 – 2600 jobs and tens of millions if not hundreds of millions in tax revenue for New York State (varying depending on the news organization and the year). You have directly exerted effort to direct at least $2 million in taxpayer dollars towards the goal of jobs and revenue creation via drones.
In January 2015, we began a detailed on-going review of the impact of drones in New York. Part of that review (published May 2015) entailed an accounting of funds spent to gain the Drone Testing Site, funds allocated to NUAIR, and jobs created due to the Site. So far over $5 million has been spent from taxpayer dollars. Thus far, revenues have not even begun to approach a fraction of the revenue stream you promised. In fact, revenues to our knowledge have yet to match the federal and state funding allocated already.
Further, based on records from NUAIR, as well as FOIA requests to the office of the Mayor for the City of Rome, New York Department of Labor, and the Commerce Dept., National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a grand total of 6 jobs had been created as of May 7, 2015. These 6 jobs were with NUAIR alone.
At this point we now ask you, and the other politicians that lauded and promised fantastic returns based on the Griffiss Drone Testing Site, to provide the following:
1) Can you provide a current number of jobs created in New York due to the Drone Testing Site, and sources for how you claim any number of jobs created.
2) Can you provide a tax revenue figure that have been generated for New York State due to the Drone Testing Site, and provide the source of that information
3) Can you provide an estimate for the growth of jobs and/or revenue for 2015, 2016 and/or 2017
4) Also have you (and/or your re-election campaign) received funds from the Unmanned Aerial Systems industry lobbying efforts?
Most importantly, we ask you for comment on how you justify to your constituents the money and time spent on the Drone Testing Site to-date and in the near future based on the efforts you continue to propose for this. Your response will be published verbatim.
Michael “Vass” Vasquez
President – M V Consulting, Inc
Writer – Examiner.com