Delaware County residents living near Philadelphia International Airport say the fight to prevent expansion of the airport is far from over.
The $5.2 billion expansion got a final stamp of approval from the Federal Aviation Administration Tuesday. But grass-roots opposition and further lawsuits could stall the project.
Philadelphia International has one of the worst track records for on-time flights in the country. And officials say the expansion is needed to relieve the congestion that leads to those delays.
The down side to the plan is the destruction of more than 80 acres of wetlands, the displacement of 80 businesses, and the loss of 72 homes in Tinicum Township, Delaware County.
One lawsuit against the city is on appeal in federal court, and has cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollars. Francis Pileggi, an attorney who represents the township, said more legal challenges could be filed. But Delaware County is not known for deep pockets.
“Money is always an issue, there’s no unlimited supply of money,” said Pileggi. “And the only thing I can say is that we’re gonna try to get as many people and government agencies involved as possible to help defray the cost.”
Pileggi said another route would be to press federal representatives to block congressional funding.
Some residents have formed an organization to fight the expansion. They point to the loss of homes, businesses, property taxes for the Interboro school district and environmental degradation.
Leaving out legal challenges and neighborhood opposition, the project is expected to take up to 15 years to complete.