Mayor, Cove Hold Firm On Tweed

Paul Bass PhotoRachel Heerema got a kick watching from her back deck as planes departed a block away from Tweed-New Haven Airport. Then she took a breath.

“At first it was cool,” she recalled. “Then I got my first taste of diesel fuel as I was having a snack. Then it got a lot less cool to sit on my back deck watching the planes take off and land.”

This month — six years after that taste of fuel — Heerema and her neighbors banded together to stop a last-minute effort during the state legislature’s session to pass a bill allowing Tweed to pave more of its runway and seek to attract commercial jet service to more cities. Mayor Toni Harp and city business leaders lobbied hard to get the bill passed; they also courted the neighbors with promises of noise mitigation. The neighbors prevailed and the bill died.

Paul Bass PhotoIt was just the latest episode in a decades-long battle between two equally determined parties. Business and political leaders are convinced that with just a little expansion Tweed can become a busy airport that jumpstarts the regional economy and creates needed jobs. Morris Covers are equally convinced that expansion will foul their air, poison their soil and water, and rattle their ears and homes — and that expansion efforts will squander millions of dollars and destroy the way of life in a shoreline neighborhood already battling the effects of climate change while offering an oasis for the whole city.

The fight’s not over.

Mayor Harp said that even though New Haven failed to get the state law passed this session, officials will continue lobbying both Hartford and Morris Cove to expand Tweed. The city will strengthen the business coalition pushing for expansion, she said. And it will continue listening to weary neighbors and come up with solutions. One example: She said City Engineer Giovanni Zinn is exploring ways to provide electricity to propeller planes that are otherwise idling (and making a racket) during trips to transport harvested hearts or kidneys to Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Markeshia Ricks Photo“We’re going to continue to work on it throughout the summer, througout the fall. We’re not going away on this issue,” Harp said on her most recent appearance on WNHH FM’s “Mayor Monday” program.

“As we address problem by problem, the more people that have their homes retrofitted, the fewer voices that you will hear against this. Will there be a small group of people who are going to be against this no matter what we do? Absolutely. But that group diminishes with time if we address [concerns] .... We can’t just take into consideration those folks who say, ‘not in my backyard.’ Every home that was built there was built after there was an airport.”

Three organizers behind this month’s successful Morris Cove anti-Tweed campaign — Heerema, Sean O’Brien, and Tania Giacomini — offered their side, and responded to criticism of their efforts, during their own appearance on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven” program.

No matter how many houses get soundproofed or other carrots the city dangles, O’Brien said, the neighbors won’t support expansion. “I don’t think we should bargain away the neighborhood,” he said. “We can’t trust them.”

Big vs. Small

Markeshia Ricks PhotoHeerema bought her house in the Cove in 2012 based on an assumption: Tweed would remain a small airport without expanding with more commercial flights.

She made that assumption based on a peace treaty struck in 2009 between Tweed and the mayors of New Haven and East Haven. (The airport sits partly in both communities.) They agreed to have more of the airport’s runway paved to accommodate more flights, in return for a permanent moratorium on any more expansion attempts. At the time city and business leaders predicted the expansion would lure new commercial service while the peace treaty would resolve decades of enmity between the airport and its neighbors. The agreement was enshrined in state law.

Nine years later, the airport still struggles to meet its bills. And the only commercial flights connect to Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, airport boosters have now for three years sought to pave the runway another 1,000 feet (or 500, depending on whom you ask) in order to accommodate the 737s they’re now convinced hold the key to luring flights to D.C., Chicago, and Orlando. Their efforts culminated in the addition of an amendment to an unrelated state bill this session (dealing with solar power) that would amend the 2009 deal and allow the further paving.

“There is a big difference between a small commercial airport with occasional service to Philadelphia” and a busier daily connector to multiple airports elsewhere, Heerema said.

At the request of state legislative leaders (the most important of whom, State President Martin Looney, lives near the airport), officials hastily organized neighborhood meetings (which turned contentious), discussed improvements like the widespread noise-proofing of homes, and succeeded in speeding a resolution through the Board of Alders supporting the state proposal.

Allan Appel PhotoMeanwhile, O’Brien — a Yale IT specialist and cybersecurity expert by day — kept neighbors up to date and organized online. He, Heerema, and Giacomini, among others, parried the airport boosters’ claims with data and with polished arguments.

Heerema focused on environmental dangers: She spoke of how a six-foot drop from the northern to the southern ends of the paved runway already creates a “water chute” that channels soot, and carcinogens like deicing agents and leaded gas, into Morris Creek Nature Preserve, then into New Haven Harbor by the main beach area of Lighthouse Point Park. More paving would send more pollution into the water and ground, while further destroying wetlands and tidal marshes, she said.

The latter fact is why it would cost $25 million to pave a mere 1,000 feet, she said in the “Dateline” interview: “You’re paving a sponge.”

Especially as climate change raises sea levels, Morris Cove, and New Haven, needs those “sponges,” she argued.

(Airport Manager Tim Larson later responded that Tweed would have to do “environmental assessment planning” in conjunction with a new runway and obtain permits that take into account impacts on wetlands, noise, and air quality.  He also said Tweed has done work alleviating flooding.)

Heerema acknowledged that the newer “whisper” jets at Tweed make less noise than before when they land. “But the takeoffs are much louder,” she said. Officials told her that’s because they need to use more engine power to accelerate — thanks to a too-short runway. Given a history of broken promises, she and O’Brien said, they don’t take him at his word that a longer paved runway would solve the problem.

Nor do they see the fact that Tweed has been soundproofing homes as a reason to support expansion. The Federal Aviation Adminsitration already established funding for that soundproofing before 2014, they noted. And they said they still hear the planes. (Tim Larson later responded that soundproofing is “voluntary at the airport’s discretion. It’s an available program to only Part 139 Airports.  A pool of funds is generated by the ticket costs by airlines. The program is subject to the availability of funds in that pool. Tweed applied for this funding and we are fortunate to have been selected by FAA.”)

“You Smell The Jet Fuel”


Giacomini grew up in the Cove; her parents bought a home there in 1959. She focused on health dangers, speaking of particulates that endanger her child’s breathing and the plants in her garden. “When a jet takes off, you smell the jet fuel,” said Giacomini, who lives on Townsend Avenue near the Pardee Sea Wall. “It smells like diesel fuel.”

O’Brien grew up near the airport on the East Haven side. She remembers watching the planes take off and land. As an adult, he moved with his wife to within a block of the airport on the Morris Cove side. He loves the neighborhood, he said, and he’s willing to preserve its beauty and quality of life.

He bristled at being cast as an impediment to progress for doing so, and being questioned why he moved to the Cove if he didn’t want to live near a bigger airport. He likened asking that question of people who live in the “path of industrial expansion” to questioning the right of immigrants to live in their new homes.

O’Brien often made the political arguments for the crew, against the charge of holding the economy hostage for NIMBY reasons. He cited the broken promise of the 2009 agreement. (Mayor Harp argued that as a state senator she understood the argument to allow future paving under new industry conditions.) He cited the history of failed attempts to lure enough new commercial flights to make Tweed profitable, along with the current trends harming smaller airports like Tweed. (Mayor Harp called those trends cyclical, arguing that the city should invest to capture a future market.)

O’Brien was repeatedly asked why he would oppose the expansion if he was so sure it would fail.

Markeshia Ricks PhotoHis answer: The expansion still costs millions and harms the environment. He also questioned the idea of equating “progress” and “innovation” with continual growth and paving over nature, rather than including quality of life and the environment in the calculation. He cited then-Mayor Dick Lee’s mass demolition and construction projects during the mid-20th century urban renewal era; that didn’t make New Haven better, he argued.

“Citites are surrounded by projects that are destructive that leave a footprint that cannot be removed. Once the pavement goes down, it does not come back up,” O’Brien argued. And Tweed would still need 240,000 annual emplanements a year to break even, he argued — compared to the 28,000 it now hosts. (Emplanements peaked at 134,000 in 1992, according to Larson, who claimed that no “current forecast” exists for a break-even figure.)

“What is innovative about pre-recesison style growth ideology? That’s not to me innovative,” O’Brien remarked.

“It is not innovative,” agreed Heerema, “to destroy the enviroinment and wreck the health of New Haven residents.”

Click on the audio file above or Facebook Live video below to hear the full interview with Morris Cove’s Sean O’Brien, Tania Giacomini, and Rachel Heerema on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven.”


Click on the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below for the full episode of “Mayor Monday” on WNHH FM. The discussiona bout Tweed begins at the six-minute mark

This episode of “Mayor Monday” was made possible with the support of Gateway Community College and Berchem Moses P.C.

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posted by: robn on May 28, 2018  9:30am

Residents of Fair Haven, East Rock, Newhallville, the Hill and others should also be aware that they are under Tweeds approach and departure flight paths.

posted by: Esbey on May 28, 2018  9:49am

Thank you for pointing out that the opponents claim both a) that the expansion will bring no new service and b) that the vast expansion of service will ruin their lives.

Point a, which they double down on here, implies that they should stop talking about extra noise and jet fuel, because there won’t be any. So by the opponents own argument, that problem is already solved.

posted by: Noteworthy on May 28, 2018  11:14am

Long on Dishonesty Notes:

1. The core problem is the history of broken promises that litter this controversy. If Tweed and the city kept their word, no problems. The issue is the city keeps moving the goal posts and while they’re doing that, Tweed officials lie to the neighbors.

2. The 2009 agreement which Mayor Harp voted for in the state senate - she now is willing to shove aside and break with the most feeble excuse - well, that was then, this is now.

3. Harp used the same twisted logic to continually override the spending cap in the state budget, override debt limits that were enshrined in the public vote authorizing the income tax. Harp’s logic? The public voted for the income tax with the spending limits but the state senate did not. Therefore, she had a loophole through which she claimed through which she could slither.

4. That slithering has created the current state budget mess.

5. Bottom line for Tweed/Harp: Your dishonesty has sunk hopes for a settlement with the neighborhood. Your situational ethics, your changing rationale and goal posts are impossible to trust. But more importantly, there is absolutely no evidence that the additional paving or even if done, another airline will provide the needed revenue that will bring a balanced budget, economic development or jobs for New Haven. Oh, and the small notion that a longer runway will actually bring another airline. Tweed and city officials cannot point to a single company willing to add this route. Not one.

posted by: Patricia Kane on May 28, 2018  11:26am

The proposed Airport expansion should concern all New Haven neighborhoods (and East Haven) because of the noise and air pollution issues that are not restricted to the immediate neighborhood.
  New Haven is #1 in bad air quality. Children gasping for air in the Hill, adults racing to the ER and cancer clusters near the airport should be of concern regardless of where we live.
  Just as the traumatic repetition of gun shots at the police range should be of concern to all of us, so should the quality of life issues, a mosaic of critical factors, like noise and air quality, wherever and whatever the immediate issue.
  It’s long past the time to question a mindless need for growth because the environment is being destroyed and the next mass extinction of us is underway.
  The people who actually live here and have to deal with the pollution problems should decide whether enough is enough.
  We already subsidize the principality of Yale and the mega YNHH and Tweed. 11% tax increase should make every one question this folly of a proposal.

posted by: Sean O'Brien on May 28, 2018  12:18pm

“And Tweed would still need 240,000 annual emplanements a year to break even, he argued — compared to the 28,000 it now hosts. (Emplanements peaked at 134,000 in 1992, according to Larson, who claimed that no “current forecast” exists for a break-even figure.)”

The 240K figure comes from the annual report from the May 9 Airport Authority board meeting.  Read it yourself here on page 11:

“HVN Break-Even: About 240,000 Annual Enplanements”

The number peaks at around 65-66K in the Delta year (2005-2006); I did say in the interview that 45K was the peak but that is the 1999 figure from the pink line on the graph, does not include the months of peak Delta flights.

posted by: Sean O'Brien on May 28, 2018  12:48pm

*May 16 airport authority board meeting, graph also available here:’s been a long month :P

The point here, and with all Tweed’s numbers, is that a growth *far beyond* the promised “few extra flights” of the latest round of expansion proposals is required for the airport to be sustainable.

The Mayor herself alludes to this, and I think Paul summarizes her approach well in the interview.  Some of the people involved in the 2009 agreement/legislation seem to think it was a temporary measure to appease the locals, and never intended to stop at 5600 feet (which is exactly why the MOA has such large figures for the other caps for the airport that don’t jive with the runway limitation). 

When the airport fails to meet goals over time, politicians will come in and say “the situation on the ground has changed, we need to expand again”.  When opponents say “relentless expansion”, this is what we are talking about.

When expansion proponents point out that the other parts of the 2009 MOA would allow for many more flights, they are also alluding to this “dirty little secret”: the promise for 5600 feet was never meant to be kept.  Tweed purchased and cleared land as early as 2011 to start the process of defying the agreement.

Is there any attempt at honesty here?  The number 7100 was the actual number for the proposed expansion that was defeated, not 6600.  Etc. etc.

posted by: KNB on May 28, 2018  1:34pm

“Emplanements peaked at 134,000 in 1992, according to Larson, who claimed that no “current forecast” exists for a break-even figure.)”  This is state socialism at its best.  If Tweed was a private corporation it would long ago have gone out of business. 

There is no current plan to break even because it knows it cannot break even.  Since the late 1990s the airport has consistently asked for more money and more runway length and told us if it got them it airlines would come running.  To date - no airlines have come.  When the safety zones were created Tweed and Mayor DeStefano said 5 airlines were considering establishing service since the runway would now be longer.  None came.  Now we hear the same thing.  And again none will come.  When nothing brings more service it is not due to a cycle - it is due to the non-viability of the endeavor - in this case the airport. 

However, what will come with a new runway will be larger private jets and the city of New Haven will get to subsidize their landing.  We have spent more than 10 million dollars over the last decade on an airport that does very little for the average person in the city.  It is a reverse robin hood - poor and middle class people get to see their tax dollars subsidize the travel and flights of the rich. It is time for this to stop.  At the various hearings almost all proponents for expansion were either with Yale or came from outside the city.  However, Yale is not willing to subsidize the airport and neither are surrounding towns.  It is easy to support something when you pay nothing for it.  New Haven is the sap in all of this - we get the dirt, the noise, the fun of paying a subsidy for a commercially non viable airport - Yale and the Region get whatever slim benefits it creates.  Enough.

posted by: Bumbershoot on May 28, 2018  2:11pm

Tweed has been there ninety years.  I’d guess almost everyone who lives in the Cove has moved in since that time. 

But most did not move in after passage of the limitation on the length of the runway. They were there before. Now they latch onto the limit as the reason their opposition isn’t just NIMBY. 

Of course it is. 

It also is for anyone who bought after the limit was passed.  Even if they had thought to ask their realtors “how long is the runway?” or even “will more planes be coming in and out of here?” they had to be willfully naive to think that state laws can’t be changed.  At the most charitable one could say “oh, they’ll try to change it, I’ll fight it when they do.”

Which is the point—the opponents of expansion should just be honest.  You live near an airport (as do I) but you don’t want planes to fly in and out of it—period. Just say that. The rest is nonsense.

I think you’re wrong, but at least it’s straight. Embrace your NIMBY.

posted by: Sean O'Brien on May 28, 2018  3:01pm

Harp: “Every home that was built there was built after there was an airport.”

Morris Cove Historic District,
Between Dean & Myron Sts., Morris Causeway & Townsend Ave.,
New Haven, SG100002320,
LISTED, 4/19/2018

posted by: Sean O'Brien on May 28, 2018  5:27pm

@Bumpercar, listen to the interview.  And, while you’re at it, address some of the points therein.

posted by: Ozzie on May 28, 2018  5:33pm

My Family has lived in the Cove since the 1950’s , me for almost 50 years ( through, Allegheny, Eastern and, Air Wisconsin.)  and I wish they were back for an easy departure .  People bought their house knowing that they were moving near an airport, but thats too bad . Maybe your windows will rattle a little bit ( like mine did ) but I’m sure they would be the first in line for a quick weekend trip to Chicago ( like when Air Wisonson was here ) . Maybe that little airport could actually be a benefit for the City instead of costing the City money.

posted by: __quinnchionn__ on May 28, 2018  5:45pm

I think that the New Haven area deserves to have a bigger and better airport. It would definitely beat driving more than two hours down to the Airports in NY/NJ and also to Bradley up in the Greater Hartford area. Personally, I like going down to Florida because I have family down there that I love seeing. It would be awesome for me to take a flight from Tweed down to Orlando. People who currently lives in the area may be upset about the change, but at some point they should’ve known that this was going to happen sooner or later. Both the City and the State need to provide more jobs. Expanding the runway at Tweed makes a lot of sense to me. It would make it more of a “destination” location for more people to fly in and out. I think that it will be an interesting thing.

posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on May 29, 2018  9:16am

I have to admit I find the whole argument, “Well legislators aren’t honoring our previous agreement” as ridiculous and a bit hilarious. Guess what: This agreement/law, like all laws, is not permanent forever. That’s not how the world works. Laws change all the time. Mayor Harp wasn’t even Mayor when this agreement was made.

As others have pointed out, it’s also disingenuous to say that a) paving the runway will bring no additional revenue, and b) the additional fights are going to ruin your lives.

That being said, it’s not my neighborhood, so it’s easy for me to say it’s not a big deal. Right now, flights are far too expensive for me to consider flying out of New Haven. And Bradley will be expanding.

In a perfect world, there are direct train rides from New Haven to Bradley, but the State can’t afford that, either. So I don’t know what the solution is.

posted by: theNEWnewhaven on May 29, 2018  1:03pm

Can’t we just purchase land elsewhere to build this that ISN’T so dramatic?

How’s North Branford?

Or,... Oxford?

Closer to the density without the rightful NIMBY issues?

posted by: RobotShlomo on May 29, 2018  1:12pm

People who live down in the Cove have been fighting this fight for god knows how long, and I always say the same thing; You bought your house knowing there was an airport near it. You’ve pre-emptively lost any argument you might make. It’s not like you opened the door, and an Airbus a320 flew out of your basement which prompted you to say “Oh my god, when I had no idea there was an airport down here!! When did this happen? That’s it! Honey, we’re going to have to move!!’.

And for those who’ve lived there a long time, did anybody really say to themselves “Air travel? Bah!!! Nobody is going to want to fly anywhere. That Lindbergh guy was fluke. The rest of the country isn’t going to grow. Now trolleys!! A late 19th mode of transit rendered obsolete by the automobile, that’s a real growth industry”.

And if a lot of people are off put by my sarcasm, I have a difficult time feeling any sympathy for anyone who CHOSE to live near an airport. And this is from someone who used to live down in Morris Cove. The airport has been there since 1933. They didn’t sneak it in overnight.

posted by: Bill Saunders on May 29, 2018  2:49pm


Purchasing land elsewhere to extend a runway to an airport that isn’t there is a great political solution!

posted by: Cordalie on May 29, 2018  3:16pm

What we need is fast transportation to Bradley.  This is the 21s century. Think a path exclusively for self-driving vehicles or a track over I- 91.

posted by: NHPLEB on May 29, 2018  5:03pm

@RobotShlomo— Many houses were in the Cove long before Tweed.  My house was built in 1888 and,  though I am younger than that,  I was born in that house .  My family bought in the Cove in 1931—- BEFORE TWEED.  The airport expansion will have a detrimental effect on the environment and the surrounding neighborhoods.  Beyond that,  it is not an economically good idea to pour more good money after bad trying to make Tweed something it never was and never can be.  I support expansion of Bradley.  I could also go for an airport that is truly in CENTRAL CONNECTICUT—like Middletown area.  That would be reachable from everywhere in the state and not in the middle of a densely - populated city and ring towns.  Having said that,  I fail to see the sense of spending on any risky idea when our State is in such a financial mess. Times are tough;  budgets are tight; we can’t afford to gamble on a known losing proposition like Tweed.

posted by: LoveNH on May 29, 2018  5:03pm

Vote Looney Out! This guy is holding the region hostage to interests no broader than his own back yard.

posted by: Bill Saunders on May 29, 2018  9:42pm

I have taken a flight out of Tweed once, in 2003—it was actually the cheapest international flight to Germany that we could find—Northwest Airlines—with a horrendous transfer at Philadelphia…..

CT is an f’ng small state….  Bradley is certainly adequate, and if you want some cheap flights to some smaller cities to the South, may I suggest taking the drive to Providence and flying out of there….

Tweed needs to get with the program if they expect any help or support….Growth takes Action, not waiting for ‘Cycles’.

Maybe Yale could buy Tweed and start an Aviation School. 
Unite Here can organize the Air Traffic Controllers…..

posted by: Tweed Facts on May 29, 2018  9:50pm

Ms. Hereema, there is a difference between highway-grade diesel fuel, which you claim to smell and taste, and kerosene-based jet fuel, used in aircraft. You’re smelling the port, and the hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel stored and vented from there, and from the confluent off of the I91-I95 merge, a mere 2 miles from the neighborhood. Ms. Giacomini even mentioned the ships that “belch” black smoke in the harbor. That isn’t jet fuel they are burning in their engines. We know aviation burns fuels and contributes like any other mode of transportation to emissions. Only aviation has been making huge per passenger gains in the past two decades in reducing overall emissions impacts with new fuel blends, higher engine efficiencies, and better more aerodynamic airplanes that require less fuel overall. Newer planes in the fleets bring these benefits: planes that require a longer runway to operate at Tweed.

And again, with the length argument. Yes, there have been different numbers thrown around in recent weeks over final proposed runway length. We did the math up front months ago for everyone, but no one else did? Strange. 5,600 total current feet, pus 1,000 paved safety area on the south, and 500 paved on the north. Add that up, it’s 7,100 paved feet. The airport indicates these areas would be used as “displaced threshold.” We encourage all parties to educate themselves on what that is, but in essence, these paved areas would expand takeoff and landing rollout capabilities without changing current approach paths to the airport.

Ms. Hereema’s comment regarding “whisperjets” is a crock. That was a marketing term used by Eastern Air Lines in the 70s to promote their new 727 jets, which then were quieter than any other jet manufactured. Come back to the 21st century, Rachel! Advances in engine & aircraft design mean planes are only getting quieter and quieter, no “whisperjet” required. And no, Ms. Giacomini, Tweed won’t have 747s. Never will.

posted by: Tweed Facts on May 29, 2018  10:06pm

We need to directly address a new problem: the claim of idling plane engines. NO. Prop planes “during trips to transport harvested hearts or kidneys to Yale-New Haven Hospital” are not idling. Jet planes overwhelmingly provide this service, they all park at Robinson Aviation, and they all SHUT DOWN. It’s like this was written by someone who took a random complaint at face value, didn’t ask questions, and just published it. Hmmmm.

Mr. O’Brien, airport break even and airline break even are two different things. American is making money on the service. The airport is another matter entirely, one we have said is a direct result of management which the Authority is supposed to oversee. No one seems to ask them to tone down the costs associated with running the airport. Also note that the majority of improvement funding comes from the FAA, in an account already funded by passenger ticket sales. The contributions of state and local funds will be comparably minimal.

We’ve responded to many of your age-old arguments before, so we aren’t going to waste our breath on those again. Noise, runway requirements, the economics of airline travel: we’ve been here, done that.

@KNB, the creation of grass runway safety areas DID NOT expand the runway, at all. No new pavement was added. No additional runway space. If a plane can’t takeoff/land on it, it’s not runway. Tweed isn’t operating a grass strip. The LAST TIME Tweed has done any runway paving was in 1967, when it was lengthened to the current 5,600 feet paved. It is true that airlines would consider new service with more runway. Tweed hasn’t offered that in over fifty years. Please keep that in mind before spouting off that the 2009 agreement gave them what they wanted. 2009 was letting the airport comply with FEDERAL requirements concerning safety areas as requirements for air carrier airports.

posted by: Tweed Facts on May 30, 2018  9:12am

@RobotShlomo The history of the airport goes back even farther to when the land was first acquired by the city for aviation purposes in November of 1922. The vision of Mr. Tweed and other officials at the time was a land and seaport that would connect New Haven to the world.

posted by: Tweed Facts on May 30, 2018  12:18pm

@theNEWnewhaven This argument over “moving” the airport or building a new one elsewhere is dead on arrival. We invite you to guess at how much a land purchase like that would be, let alone the cost of leveling the land, building new infrastructure, paving runways and taxiways (which are far thicker than roads to handle weight), new certification, approach design and implementation by the FAA, permitting and land use rights… the cost would be so prohibitive (in the hundreds of millions of dollars) that if you thought fiscal hawks were angry about Tweed, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Tweed has the land within its current boundaries to pave portions of the safety areas and provide a runway long enough to support commercial service which will benefit businesses and private citizens alike, and allow current aircraft in airlines’ fleets to use the airport. The age of the turboprop is over, and the days when an airline will depart half-filled are likewise in the past. Carriers like American, Delta, and United, and others are using newer, faster, quieter, more comfortable jet aircraft which require longer paved runways to provide for safe takeoffs and landings.

posted by: UrbanPlanner on May 30, 2018  12:57pm

Im not sure who is more annoying here, the local residents rallying to fight against something that is objectively good for everyone, the Independent for giving them equal weight and consideration, or the spineless politicians for not doing anything to fix the economy.

Have you all noticed that CT is financially broke and its major cities are broken? Did you all see taxes are going up?

What is anyone’s home worth when there are no jobs and the state has to tax everyone to high hell to still lose money?

Shame on you all

posted by: Patricia Kane on May 30, 2018  2:48pm

@BetweenTwoRocks: I was more than a bit stunned when you wrote: “I have to admit I find the whole argument, “Well legislators aren’t honoring our previous agreement” as ridiculous and a bit hilarious. Guess what: This agreement/law, like all laws, is not permanent forever.”
    The whole point of this discussion is to ascertain “the consent of the governed”. I know it often looks like that’s not important, but the statement issued by Sen. Looney and State Rep. Paollilo could not have been more explicit in requiring community consensus, if not consent, to any changes to the legislation around Tweed.
    Every neighborhood in New Haven should sign in on this topic because EVERYONE subsidizes Tweed and everyone is affected by the airport, some beneficially, but too many adversely.
    Let Yale take a billion out of the endowment and buy some land where there will be no controversy. The Chamber of Commerce and YNHH can chip in too.
    The people suffering with asthma, noise pollution and cancer have a say in what happens.
    Will the phantom benefits to the economy compensate these people for their loss of health?
      You know the answer is no.

posted by: steve on May 30, 2018  2:56pm

@Noteworthy,” Tweed and city officials cannot point to a single company willing to add this route. Not one.” And why do you think that is? Airlines will not commit to new service as long as the runway stays as is. Some on this forum and the NHR have said get a letter of intent from an airline before proceeding with the runway project. Airlines don’t work that way and what date would you give for the runway to be finished? A lot of steps are involved before an airlines can begin new service and as long as the runway stays as is, no airline will offer new service because they can’t.
@KNB,“what will come with a new runway will be larger private jets.” Not true, private jets can currently land at Tweed and the runway will have no effect on the number of private jets, its the market that will dictate the number of jets.
@KNB,“Tweed and Mayor DeStefano said 5 airlines were considering establishing service since the runway would now be longer.” Its not longer,see below.
@Sean,” politicians will come in and say “the situation on the ground has changed, we need to expand again”There has been no relentless expansion or any expansion, runway 20 has 5200 feet for landing and runway 2 has 5600 feet for landing. Its been that way since the late 60’s.The runway plan is to pave the overruns 1000 feet to the south and 500 feet to the north. These portions will still remain overruns and marked as such. Planes will not be able to use these portions to touch down while landing. This means runway 2 will have 6100 feet for landing and runway 20 will have 6200 feet for landing. Along with Patricia Kane,Ms. Hereema,AMDC,etc, you are inciting unfounded fears with the “sky is falling mentality”. Tweed will not cause the claims of pollution, illnesses, and massive traffic jams some have been proclaiming. You all bought homes near Tweed and expected no growth, while air travel numbers climb every year.Poor planning on your part.

posted by: UrbanPlanner on May 30, 2018  4:26pm

If the neighborhood is against this minor expansion to Tweed (5%-10% more cars and planes) then I think it is time to start the eminent domain process.

The city, county and state simply cannot be held hostage by a tiny number of misguided NIMBY luddites. Eminent domain is probably the only way to wrestle control back to the powers that should be.

FYI 1.4 million people live closer to Tweed than ANY other airport… even if 500 people were truly against this, it comes out to about 0.036 percent! And the real number is likely a few dozen.

Also missing from the narrative: which politicians here have a personal or business conflict? Answer: more than one!

If these political dinosaurs can’t pass a bill that would have clear economic impact, with the best ROI of any infrastructure in the history of the state, that is also desired by 1,399,500 out of 1,400,000 constituents, then what are they good for? I think its also time for a changing of the guard.

And regarding the NIMBYs in Morris Cove who wanted a 4 bedroom house near the ocean in an affluent, low crime area for <$300k… bring out the bulldozers! Would make a great golf course.

posted by: steve on May 30, 2018  5:02pm

@Bill Saunders, Quote “I have taken a flight out of Tweed once, in 2003—it was actually the cheapest international flight to Germany that we could find—Northwest Airlines—with a horrendous transfer at Philadelphia.” Northwest never flew from Tweed and I have made connecting flights at Philadelphia dozens of times with no problems, not an accurate assessment of the Philly airport with taking only one flight.

posted by: JCFremont on May 30, 2018  7:04pm

I love the argument that the expansion will cause more traffic and noise, but no airlines are lining up to come to Tweed. Of course not why would they say they they’ll come before the project is done? Expand the runway send are brilliant economic team to promote the airport and see what happens. If no additional airline sign up well at least you have less grass to mow. For all you people who think airplanes only desend or take off over “poor” neighborhoods, take a look at some of the real estate approaching Westchester Airport. Laguardia. By the way some of these flights actually bring people into New Haven, it’s not always about getting out. Often tend my vegetable gardens while watching final approach. Loudest plane of the group is that pesky Seaplane. Can’t wait for the feet stomping if The Connecticut Terminal wants to expand and finally use the Forbes Bridge rail spur. Have a question; Are agreements as binding as campaign promises?

posted by: NHPLEB on May 30, 2018  8:14pm

I know this argument will annoy airport expansion supporters but people who live near the airport do have a right to be heard first,  as they are the ones who will feel the impact most.  Those who deny effects of an airport on the environment and quality of life and health of area residents are lying.

Having said that,  please—-  invoke eminent domain and buy all our houses at fair market value. Then,  you can destroy the whole East Shore so you can shave an hour off your important traveling adventures.  Buy us out.  I think you will find many of us are quite ready to leave New Haven.  But please stop calling names at people who disagree with you.  We still have a right to our opinion and a right to have a say in our own destiny. For the moment, we have a first amendment and a right to the sanctity of our homes and hearths.  When you finish destroying that,  you can do as you please. 
I do hope that you and your families will be one of those afflicted with the” imaginary” lung diseases, asthma, COPD   that you claim don’t exist and the noise pollution and the plane crashes will find their way to YOUR HOUSES first.

posted by: steve on May 30, 2018  10:48pm

@AMDC,“I could also go for an airport that is truly in CENTRAL CONNECTICUT—like Middletown area.” I agree but think of the cost and the many barriers that would have to have to be overcome. Land acquisition, finding a plot of land large enough and near major roads and again the cost would be in the hundreds of millions and those who complain about Tweed would choke on the cost. It could never happen. Bradley field is not situated to serve the entire state with the New London area closer to the Providence airport and the Fairfield area closer to the White plains airport.
As far as who was there first, well over 90 percent of the homes were built after Tweed opened and I find it hard to believe anybody in the local area can say the predated the airport. Tweed is not a gamble or risky as you say,with the runway project done, American Airlines,which by the way is doing very well with the Philly flights, would first add flights to their Charlotte hub airport and Delta with flights to Detroit and or Atlanta. The market for air travel is here and Tweed loses a lot of passengers to other airports. Tweeds shortfall has been the limited runway, Northwest and Southwest airlines both surveyed Tweed for new service but the runway was inadequate. The cost of upgrading Tweed’s runway is the lowest cost option as opposed to a new airport and 90% of the funding would come from the FAA. The FAA receives money on every airline ticket sold so the state and cities portion would only be 10%. I don’t know why some feel there is no business for new airlines at Tweed, the one and only barrier to new service is the runway, the airport has landing aids like other airports such as an ILS,instrument landing system, runway aligning lights,etc. What some fail to realize is that most of Tweed’s daily operations are private aircraft and that will always be the case.

posted by: steve on May 30, 2018  11:07pm

@AMDC, “Buy us out.  I think you will find many of us are quite ready to leave New Haven.” Why wait,put the house on the market and see what offers you get. Many people would like the idea of having a commercial airport nearby as opposed to making the trek to Bradley almost up in Massachusetts. With 3-4 airlines at Tweed, that would meet the needs of 90% of area flyers and eliminate the dependence on Bradley.
By the way,I have not called anti Tweed posters by unkind names.To say Tweed causes COPD,asthma is not accurate, much more pollution is created by I-95 and I-91 with car and truck traffic 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Newer airliners are much less polluting and have a smaller noise footprint and Tweed will never become a large operation with flights every few minutes, but with flights to several hub airports spread over the course of the day, it can help the local economy with more jobs and keeping money spent by travelers in the local area,not in Hartford or New York.

posted by: UrbanPlanner on May 30, 2018  11:11pm

@AMDC you have a right to voice your concerns and the first amendment.

However, you do not have a right to select a house next to an airport, demand benefits and entitlements, and then blame everyone else if and when anyone in your family becomes “afflicted with the” imaginary” lung diseases, asthma, COPD… (be expose to) the noise pollution and (risk of) plane crashes… find(ing) their way to YOUR HOUSES.”

You did this to your family!

I would not buy a home next to a coal burning power plant in 2012 if the local mayor promised to cap coal burning to some quota in 2009. If I did, I certainly would not then yell at everyone that it threatens my family’s safety and stage walk outs if the coal burning plant increased its volume 5% back to pre-2009 levels.

So only NOW is your family’s wellfare is important? Where was this abundance of caution when you selected your home? Did you look at homes in Vermont? They have nice and clear air, that is unless you live next to a farm that literally throws cow poo into the air multiple times per year. 

Just FYI if plane exhaust did cause anyone in your family to become ill it would be a tragedy. But you have to keep in mind that 1) it likely would not have been caused from a commercial aircraft, which is the only type of plane that could increase in volume post expansion and 2) it would be your fault for choosing to live there.

Chances are when you bought your home it had X departures per year, it has since been reduced to Y, this expansion will restore it to X… there is no serious change here.

The real estate market is pretty hot right now, and the east shore is growing in home value faster than anywhere in New Haven at about 4% per year - you might want to sell for greener pastures before there is a market crash

posted by: Ryn111 on May 31, 2018  8:37am

I love how opponents to Tweed state their will be no benefit to expansion.

Meanwhile the state recommends expanding Brainard Airport as it will yield economic development!

I have to look at Looney for this one… self serving. Sure lets expand the airport that has no commercial flights.  You know what we should also do… build a casino 20 minutes from the one billion dollar MGM casino!! genius!

posted by: John Bodnar on June 3, 2018  5:37pm

AMDC,Rocky Hill/Berlin is the center of the State.So you want to build an airport?Where is the land?As for Bradley expanding it will not happen because the neighboring towns have the same NIMBY argument as you.

posted by: steve on June 3, 2018  9:33pm

@AMDC “I know this argument will annoy airport expansion supporters but people who live near the airport do have a right to be heard first,” Wrong, they have a right to be heard regarding their own property but not hold sway over a public facility that is used by thousands every year and has been in operation before just about everyone in the area. The entire paving project will be done entirely on airport land and in the end I feel confident that Tweed will prevail much to the approval of area travelers. What prevents the few who are opposed to the project to selling their homes and moving to Prospect, Durham, Killingworth, etc ? Statements such as “we did not expect the airport to grow”, not much reasoning and logic in that type reply.
The New Haven area needs a good regional airport which in turn will stem the flow of money spent by travelers to far way airports and their local businesses and keep the money in circulation locally.
For the few who say Tweed has expanded several times and still no airlines came, Tweeds runway is the same size it has been for decades going back to the 60’s. Grass overruns are not runway expansions but are required by the FAA for safety concerns and when the overruns are paved,they will still remain as overruns and marked accordingly on the runway so landing patterns will remain the same. Philadelphia is very close to Tweed and as such service can be offered but still weight restrictions limit the number of seats that can be sold. Hub airports such at Chicago,Detroit and Atlanta are out of reach for Tweed and these airports can offer more options for area flyers in the area. 
I do admit there are some pretty creative fiction writers regarding the dangers of more service at Tweed such as children coughing, respiratory illnesses and I remember one woman who said her child came in saying his face was burning due to a plane flying overhead. Others claimed the runway would sink into the ground with heavier planes. Vivid imaginations.