Tinicum homes in airport’s crosshairs

    Over 70 homes and 80 businesses would be relocated to make room for expanding Philadelphia International Airport.

    The Federal Aviation Administration has given another green light to Philadelphia International Airport’s $5.3 billion expansion and released its final environmental impact statement for the project. But the expansion is not welcomed by Delaware County residents who could be displaced.

    Philadelphia International has one of the worst track records for flight delays in the country. The FAA spent seven years reviewing the environmental impacts of the proposed expansion, which is supposed to put a dent in projected flight delays. The downside is a loss more than 80 acres of wetlands, the displacement of 80 businesses, and the loss of 72 homes in Tinicum Township, Delaware County.

    Jack Whelan is Chairman of Delaware County Council. Whelan says the Township has been unsuccessful in fighting the airport expansion.

    “If you don’t consider the effect on the Delaware River, the effect on the endangered species, the effect of the noise pollution to all of those residents, 72 homes, if you ignore all that then I guess it would be beneficial but they don’t seem to be concerned about Tinicum Township and they seem to be turning a callous disregard to all of those residents.”

    Whelan says a federal court recently ruled against the Township and in favor of Philadelphia. The City owns the airport, but more than half of it lies within the boundaries of Delaware County.

    Philadelphia’s Deputy Mayor for Transportation says she understands that residents of Delaware County may not want to sell their homes. But she says there are limited options for a necessary expansion.

    “We believe very strongly that the airport is the economic engine for the entire region, including Tinicum Township and Delaware County.”

    Cutler says the expansion will create 45,000 construction jobs. She says rules require the city to replace any wetlands that are destroyed in the project. The project itself could be 15 years away from completion.

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