Press Release

Capital Gondola, LLC Appoints Executive Director, Invites Public Feedback as Regional Gondola Project Takes Shape

Albany, New York, Oct. 3, 2017
Capital Gondola, LLC Appoints Executive Director, Invites Public Feedback as Regional Gondola Project Takes Shape

Former NY Department of Transportation Commissioner Tom Madison to lead the Project Team

Public encouraged to provide input via GondolaSurvey.com

Capital Gondola, LLC announced today the appointment of former New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Tom Madison as its Executive Director. Madison also previously served as Executive Director to the New York State Thruway Authority where he led efforts to develop, procure, finance and deliver the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project in New York’s lower Hudson Valley. He joins Malcolm McLaren, PE, president and CEO of McLaren Engineering Group and Peter Melewski, PE, national director of strategic planning of McLaren Engineering Group, in leading the aerial gondola project.

“As urban aerial transit solutions grow in popularity around the world, it’s very exciting to see Albany/Rensselaer at the forefront here in the U.S.,” says Tom Madison, Executive Director, Capital Gondola, LLC. “This transformative aerial gondola system connecting two communities in the heart of New York’s Capital District will provide a reliable new transportation option for commuters and visitors, driving economic development and job creation.”

The Capital District Gondola (CDG) project team members represent a cross section of local, national and international expertise and are working in a coordinated way to move the gondola project forward. The team includes the Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group, the world market leader in aerial ropeway engineering with more than 14,800 installations in 91 countries. Other core team members include: McLaren Engineering Group, Harrison & Burrowes Bridge Constructors, O’Connell Electric, Moretrench and TJM Advisors.

The CDG project team recently commissioned global firm Steer Davies Gleave to conduct a comprehensive ridership and economic impact study. The study will evaluate how Albany and Rensselaer could benefit from new tourism and business prompted by transit-oriented development around the system. As an important part of the study, the group welcomes the public’s participation in an online transportation survey, now available by visiting www.gondolasurvey.com and entering survey code “cap.”  Surveys must be submitted by Friday, October 6th.

The proposed gondola system will operate 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, with cabins arriving every 12 seconds, moving up to 3,000 passengers per hour. Preliminary estimates show hundreds of thousands of passengers each year will use the system. Convenient access to three gondola stations will be available at the Rensselaer Rail (Amtrak) Station, Albany’s downtown business district and the Empire State Plaza government complex.

A preliminary study conducted in 2016 verified that it is feasible to pursue this new, safe, environmentally sensitive mode of transportation in the Capital Region. Since then, nearly $1.5 million in private investment capital has been raised by the project team to support the project development.

“The project represents a collaborative community initiative that continues to experience tremendous support from government agencies, community leaders, transportation groups, potential passengers and numerous other stakeholders,” says Mal McLaren, Managing Member of Capital Gondola, LLC.

“While the intent is to underwrite up to 80 percent of the project’s estimated $43 million cost using private funds, financial support from various state and local grant programs is also being sought, and will be crucial to leverage additional private sector investment,” continues McLaren.

Capital Gondola, LLC will continue to raise private capital to support the project’s high-priority objectives, which include:

Completing the detailed ridership and economic impact analysis.

  • Collaborating closely with ongoing parking, land use and other studies to share information and maximize project benefits to the region.
  • Working with New York State and host communities to finalize technical and operating plans.
  • Advancing the environmental permitting process.
  • Continuing the system design and engineering process.
  • Developing marketing and advertising strategies.
  • Finalizing project funding and financing models.

CDG hopes to become a template for improving urban transportation in other areas of New York and across America. The proposed aerial ropeway system will complement other community revitalization initiatives and enhance the Capital Region’s existing intermodal transportation options, including rail, ride sharing, taxis, and local and regional bus services. The current project schedule anticipates a system opening in 2019.

About Capital Gondola, LLC

Founded in 2016, Capital Gondola, LLC, is a collection of more than a dozen representatives from leading national and international organizations including The Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group, McLaren Engineering Group, Harrison & Burrowes Bridge Constructors, O’Connell Electric, Moretrench and TJM Advisors. Its mission is to bring a new urban aerial gondola to the Albany/Rensselaer area to provide a new, reliable and efficient transportation mode and provide the region with an economic boost.  Visit gondolasurvey.com (code “cap”) to provide feedback.