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Pols Rally To Save Tweed

by Thomas MacMillan | Mar 1, 2013 5:00 pm

(7) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Business/ Economic Development, Transportation

“These are our neighbors,” said Mayor John DeStefano, pointing at a group of Tweed airport workers. “They show up for work every day. We should expect no less from our elected representatives in Washington.”

Mayor DeStefano (at right in photo) made that point during a Friday afternoon press conference at New Haven’s Tweed airport. He joined U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Dick Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro in urging Congress to act to stop the dreaded budget cuts known as “the sequester.”

The sequester, the result of a deal struck between Democrats and Republicans last summer, are set to go into effect on Saturday.

Tweed airport could be one victim of the sequester. It’s on a list of 200 airports, 100 of which would lose their Federal Aviation Agency air traffic controllers under the planned cuts. That leaves Tweed’s future up in the air. There’s a chance the airport could still function without its control tower, if US Airways chooses to continue flying there.

Blumenthal, Murphy, and DeLauro all warned that the closure of Tweed would have economic ripple effects throughout the area. “Tweed is an economic powerhouse for New Haven,” Murphy said.

Blumenthal called on Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner to act on the economy. “You break it, you own it.”

Blumenthal (pictured) warned the sequester would have “catastrophic” and “devastating” effects. He said there won’t be an immediate “earthquake” of economic calamity; the results of the sequester will be “cascading.”

The sequester could result in a loss of a full or half a percentage point of Gross Domestic Product, U.S. Sen. Murphy (pictured) predicted. He said the government should make “smart cuts” instead of the “dumb cuts” offered by the sequester.

“That was the intent of this whole Rube Goldberg scheme to begin with,” Murphy said.

“The great enemy here is uncertainty and confusion,” said Blumenthal. Doubt and fear driven by the sequester will “inhibit economic growth” and could lead the country back into recession, he said.

Asked why she’s not in Washington working on a deal, U.S. Rep. DeLauro (pictured) said she would love to be, but Boehner adjourned Congress over the objection of House members.

Tweed Executive Director Tim Larson said five companies operate out of Tweed. The airport has a flight school and one commercial airline, US Airways. All told, over 100 people work at the airport.

Larson said about 20 of those work under him, doing things like fire suppression, maintenance, and technical support. If the sequester goes through, Tweed loses its air traffic controllers, and US Airways stops flying into Tweed, he would have to lay off about nine of those people, he said.

Larson said the sequester threat is causing a lot of stress at the airport. “Everybody’s concerned. They’ve all got pits in their stomach.”

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posted by: SaveOurCity on March 1, 2013  9:25pm

wow - I"m glad that today, my tax dollars (local and federal) went to paying these clowns to go make giant speeches at an airport that had 4 departures per day.  I can’t imagine anything more important that they could be doing.

posted by: robn on March 1, 2013  10:50pm

Ill write it again

A random plot of empty land on Fort Hale Road is assessed at $5K/acre, meaning @ $7/acre market value. Tweed is about 400 acres. That’s conservatively $3M of blank land that could potentially hold 2000 homes, or $300M of taxable property (given the values on Fort Hale Road which is conservative). At the current mill rate that’s about $12M of additional taxes annually. Does Tweed annually add so much economic activity to the region that it adds $12M of taxes annually to New Havens coffers?

posted by: alexey on March 2, 2013  10:36am

robn, even if you could put 2,000 families there (I wonder how much of that land is developable),you would have to add back costs for roads, plowing, police, fire, schools and teacherrs, and deduct whatever might be determined as a positive economic benefit.  Still open would be the question of demand for that housing and jobs for the people who would live there.  The city is not simply forgoing $12M dollars in tax revenue.  It’s far more complicated than that.  Still, your suggestion can prompt thinking about the best use for this land and the economics, or value, of the airport to the city, region, and state.

posted by: Noteworthy on March 2, 2013  10:50am

There was plenty of advance notice Sequester was coming. The idea was Obama’s and Demos and the GOP all fell in line with it. Sequester did not include more revenue which is why there is no compromise now. It included a rather pitiful level of spending cuts, only 2% but the application was herky, jerky.

Funny how these same people thought it was fine for our families to absorb a 2% cut in take home pay when they agreed to let the payroll tax increase. Not a peep then and Sen. Murphy famously said about the fiscal cliff, another crisis which would have raised taxes even more on top of jeopardizing America’s credit standing, that “it wasn’t that big a deal.”

They famously say the cuts are dumb and not smart. I agree. Congress should act and compromise they said. I agree. They are Congress. They don’t have solutions and whatever specific actions they took or pretended to take, conversations they claim to have had, were not successful. If this is such a crisis, get the hell back to Washington, quit preening for cameras and pretending the world is coming to an end, and fix it. Compromise works both ways.

posted by: New Haven Taxpayer on March 2, 2013  5:04pm

According to NH Register, Tweed flies “four daily round trips to Philadelphia. The airline boarded 36,897 people at Tweed in 2012. General aviation — private planes — accounts for another 75,000 or so departures.”
Let the 75k private fliers pay for this airport, not Taxpayers. Not Federal Taxpayers, Not State Taxpayers and definitely not NEW HAVEN TAXPAYERS.
I am not a fan of this sequester nonsense but if all we have to suffer is the cut of some controllers at Tweed, I am all for it.

OH- I don’t know about you, but I am really sick and tired of Rosa D. She has some nerve preaching about compromise. She voted against the vast majority of her own party when she voted to go over the fiscal cliff. What does she know about compromise? She is the quintessential lifer pol.

posted by: HhE on March 2, 2013  7:57pm

I one wished to illustrate why our government is in this fiscal mess, here is Exhibit One.  Every cut from the budget, elicits this sort of response.  No you cannot cut that program, appropriation, defense project, because it will effect my district/state.

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on March 3, 2013  4:45pm

Rosa DeLauro [quoted by New Haven Register] re. the sequester : “’If you do not understand the art of compromise, you should not sit in a legislative body,’ said DeLauro”—who happens to be the most stridently partisan, uncompromising member of congress. Sounds like the kettle is calling the pot black. DeLauro: “The obligation is to those who need assistance ... that’s what our moral responsibility is”. Yet, thanks to spendaholics like DeLauro, soon there will be no assistance left for ANYone—unless our Chinese financial overlords decide to continue bailing us out—the same Chinese govt. that’s been ramping up cyber-attacks against the US in recent weeks. Foolish legislators like DeLauro, who are threatening our economy, while destabilizing our national sovereignty, need to be retired. Having just turned 70, it’s time for her to collect her overly-generous, congressionally-exclusive retirement plan and start using her congressionally-exclusive healthcare plan for retirees.

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