Councilman fears airport expansion could be Philly’s loss

A Philadelphia councilman is sending a stern warning about airport expansion and its invasion into another community.

During council budget hearings Tuesday, Councilman Jim Kenney told airport officials he doesn’t feel good about expanding farther into Tinicum Township to ease airport congestion. Kenney says he would not vote to fund the effort.

“We’re going to take 80 houses for a setback for a runway. And the other issue, frankly, is if we move in this direction, we could lose the airport,” warned Kenney. “There is enough of a rumbling in the Republican House and Senate and the Republican governor’s office if we continue to go in this direction we could lose our airport.”

Aviation Director Mark Gale said the expansion plan, which has been approved by the federal government, is necessary.

“It’s not an easy thing. At the same time we’re trying to balance the future needs of our region and we’re trying to compete with our neighbors to the north,” said Gale.

Gale said expansion is necessary because the current runways cannot operate simultaneously at all times, causing flight delays.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.