FAA approves Philadelphia airport expansion

The Federal Aviation Administration has granted final approval to Philadelphia International Airport’s controversial $5.2 billion expansion.  The airport has been in a longstanding dispute with Tinicum Township in Delaware County over the plan.

The expansion involves demolishing dozens of homes and more than 80 acres of marshland to make way for more gates and an additional runway for the notoriously crowded Philadelphia International Airport.  That marshland will be replaced elsewhere.

Delaware County Council Chairman Jack Whelan, a longtime opponent of the project, says the county and Tinicum Township are considering their next move.

“We’re looking at those options and seeing what is the best course of action,” said Whelan.  “I think most importantly what we’re going to do is we’re going to reach out to our federal legislators, Congressman Pat Meehan and Senator Toomey.  We’re certainly going to be in close contact with them expressing our concerns beyond the disappointment of the FAA decision.”

Meanwhile, Airport Chief Executive Mark Gale said he’ll work with opponents.

“Any and all stakeholders with respect to the expansion project, it’s our intent to continue to work with them and to make this project happen,” he said.

Opponents have 60 days to file lawsuits to stop the construction.  US Airways and Southwest Airlines have expressed concerns about the high cost.

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