Warwick City Council to fight runway project

PROVIDENCE, RI – Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian says his administration will continue work with Federal Aviation Administration for a runway expansion at T.F. Green Airport. His comments come after the City Council voted unanimously on a resolution to challenge the legal process of the FAA proposal. Avesdisian adds he will prepare documents to transfer nearly $65,000 from a legal fund to the city council so they can proceed with a legal challenge although he doubts the chances for its success.

"The only time we've ever seen successful challenges to records of decision that have been issued by the FAA have been when there has been a flaw in the process," he says. "And we don't think they did anything that would lend itself to an appeal."

Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson, whose ward encompasses the airport, is thrilled by the decision.

"PCR 136-11, my resolution to challenge the FAA's Record of Decision PASSED 8-0!!!!!" she writes on her Facebook wall. "Special thanks to the Community Groups and individuals who came to testify. I also want to thank Bill DePasquale, our Planning Director, for all his long hours compiling data and commentary. This was definitely a joint effort between the City, our residents and our elected officials!"

Council and community members had voiced concern over the expansion, including the need for air-quality monitoring and the potential for de-icing solution to leach into nearby wetlands.

Supporters of the project say the runway needs to be longer to draw aircraft for national and international flights. The FAA has yet to issues a response, but has previously said they would not spend money on a legal challenge.

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