December 17, 2014
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Positive benefits of airport expansion to state‘ s economy

T. F. Green Airport and the recently completed Interlink connecting rail project provide multiple transportation functions for people traveling to and from southern New England with unmatched ease and efficiency. This unique transportation hub has laid the foundation for our state’s economic success in a very competitive global environment. A critical component of ensuring the success of this hub is expanding the runway at T.F. Green to allow access to nonstop service to the West Coast for businesses in Southern New England and local residents.

Before deciding to allow the runway to expand, the Record of Decision (ROD) rendered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) completed a long and exhaustive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) study for the proposed runway extension. This process is federally regulated and designed to specifically identify environmental impacts of the underlying projects and then to design mandatory mitigation measures to offset such impacts. This has been a public process, which has provided an opportunity for input from many, including local residents, business professionals, city and state leaders as well as members of the Warwick City Council.

While we recognize the Council’s right to challenge the ROD, it is nevertheless troubling that a means within the EIS process could not have accommodated their interests. Commencing a formal legal challenge has already increased costs and delayed the employment of construction trades people in this time of severe economic hardship.

For years our respective members have supported this project because of the positive benefits to the airport and to economic development in the State.

The runway extension and associated construction projects will produce more than 1,300 well paying jobs. At a time when job creation is challenging in Rhode Island and with an unemployment rate of 10.8 percent and an unemployment rate approaching 40 percent in the construction industry, it is critical to our construction and trades workers, many of whom are Warwick residents, to have this opportunity.

The development of the Station District remains a top priority for Governor Chafee. Delaying the project will impede the ability to market this area. The runway extension is expected to offer increased air service opportunities to air carriers. There is a direct correlation between the success of the airport and that of the Station District. Development in that area will present hundreds more construction jobs as well.

A critical need exists to build a safer, better economic engine that will become a hub for businesses and leisure travelers in the 21st century.

The thousands of members, both local and statewide, that we represent have voiced their support and want these projects to move forward. Collectively, they believe the economic benefits of this project will yield an important payback for the host community and the entire state in the years to come.

We ask the Litigation Subcommittee: Council President Bruce Place, Councilman Steven Merolla and Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson, who also chairs the city’s Economic Development Committee, to handle this matter with the urgency that it deserves.

This is not only important to the state of Rhode Island, but to the City of Warwick and the Station District, which is an important focus of Warwick’s economic development efforts.

Improving and enhancing the state’s largest commercial airport is a key initiative for economic growth and job creation, which makes it critical that we move forward.

Laurie White
Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce
Greg Mancini
BuildRI
Michael Sabitoni
RI Building Construction Trades Council


Comments
5 comments on this item

"The runway extension and associated construction projects will produce more than 1,300 well paying jobs. At a time when job creation is challenging in Rhode Island and with an unemployment rate of 10.8 percent and an unemployment rate approaching 40 percent in the construction industry, it is critical to our construction and trades workers, many of whom are Warwick residents, to have this opportunity."

What is proposed here - the great Pyramid? How many pavement machine operators are needed to pave the old neighborhood? How many dump truck drivers, flaggers, surveyors? The people mover, a far more complicated project, did not generate anywhere near 1,300 jobs. The outside estimate is that the runway extension would create a few dozen jobs at best.

Even if the 1300 figure is high, certainly, the earth moving workers, pavers, electricians, electronics and avionics workers, added to the personnel needed to work on the off site road work will be significantly more than a few dozen. Might the author of the "outside estimate" be biased in some way? The passe' runway setup should have been enhanced years ago, but we fought tooth and nail in typical Rhode Island fashion as business, industry and productive residents trickled out of the state. It's not too late to upgrade to modern, safe runways or all weather operation, optimal aircraft loading regardless of destination.

So the whole purpose is for Laurie White to lie to the public to obtain federal funds and funnel them to the construction trades at the expense of others. The fact is after the proposed work is done, there will not be any flights to locations not already served and the total program cost will be over $1 billion dollars or approx $1,000 per every person living in the State or RI, the governor just requested in his capital plan over $150 million for the State of RI's portion and to sell bonds to finance it, at the same time to raise the taxes of all in the State of RI. All the proposed project will do is put the state deeper in dept, cost the average tax payer more money, and the added infrastructure cost at the airport will be added to taxpayers and airline ticket cost making TF Green less competitive, it's even been disclosed by the FAA. So in the future when your tickets to fly your kids to Disney cost you $200 more, don't complain then as it will be too late. Laurie White tells a very one sided story She is a lobbyist for a group who only cares about pocketing money for themselves, as the tens of millions of dollars that the state overpaid for the interlink station through corrupt bid processes and the corruption continues. Please RI constituents wake up and realize that RIAC may be a RICO Act, they are making false statements to obtain federal money. and will increase to cost of doing business here and that is not good for our economy or our taxpayers.

When Southwest Airlines first approached RIAC the landing fee cost was $.66 per thousand and the cost per enplanement metric was projected to be $5.25 per passenger in 2005. Due to excessive salaries and head counts at RIAC as well as wildly excessive borrowing for things such as the useless Interlink ($266 million) landing fees are over $4.00 per thousand and slated to double under the expansion plan. Enplanement costs have now doubled over their 2005 projection and scheduled to go up again to pay for the extension. Airlines are downsizing and pulling out partially due to these excessive costs.

Increases in costs to pay for the extension will drive more large planes to Boston and push airlines to use turboprops at Green.

Is that good for the economy?

Massachusetts Port Authority released a business memo on 2/16/2012. It was on the turntoten website.

"MPA has aprroved a 5 year $1 BILLION spending plan designed to pay for 340 IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS and create 2,500 CONSTRUCTION JOBS."

Now, tell me how TF Green will bring in 1300 well paying jobs for a $170 million...is it RI overkill?

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