On Wednesday, the Tweed-New Haven Airport Authority Board of Directors approved a new lease and management agreement with a company called Avports.
The new lease calls for Avports to spend at least $100 million including on a new terminal, a runway extension, traffic and safety improvements and community investments to help with noise, traffic and environmental mitigation.
“Over a year ago, we announced a historic deal to bring new jobs, new flights and new economic development to New Haven. It's a true public-private partnership. And tonight's vote brings us one step closer to that becoming a reality,” said Sean Scanlon, Tweed-New Haven Airport executive director.
Building a new terminal is far from a done deal, but the board’s actions are a big step for the project, which has generated a lot of controversy.
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During the meeting, East Haven’s mayor called in to express his concern that his community will have to deal with a lot of the negative impacts while New Haven enjoys more of the benefits.
“All avenues will be protected, will be taken to protect our community. East Haven is not afraid of a street fight and we never have been,” said Mayor Joseph Carfora, D – East Haven.
The mayor said they haven’t agreed to anything and have lawyered up. Some opponents of the new, 43-year lease think the process was rushed and neighbors believe their concerns are not being fully considered.
“I don’t think they are paying attention,” said James Lawson of New Haven.
On Lawson’s street, you can hear the jets from the nearby airport and see signs opposing the expansion plans.
“I have no problem with an airport being there. What I have a problem with is expanding it and bringing bigger planes in,” Lawson said.
The airport executive director said they’ve been working on this deal for more than a year and they promise to work through any problems that are brought up, including from East Haven.