Will Spend $500 Million Converting Former USAF Base To Reliever
While the US Department
of Transportation mulls alternatives for reducing the growing
delays at the major New York airports, the Port Authority of New
York and New Jersey has a bold plan of its own. The port says it
will spend $500 million over the next decade to turn Stewart
International Airport (SWF), a former Air Force Base west of
Newburgh, NY into a state-of-the-art reliever airport handling
millions of passengers each year.
The raw materials are compelling. Stewart's longest runway,
9/27, is 11,817 feet long -- enough for a space shuttle landing.
It's location, more than 60 miles from New York City, includes four
times the land area of LaGuardia, allowing plenty of parking, and
whatever terminal space might be needed.
And, while the big New York airports face NIMBY battles on every
front, the community around Stewart appears receptive to the
economic boost an improved international airport could offer.
Anthony Shorris, executive director of the Port Authority, told
the New York Times recently, "Stewart can be kind of a beacon for a
lot of things...an anchor for growth in the Hudson Valley, a major
reliever of the other airports, a cargo and job-generating facility
for a new economic growth pattern, and a demonstration of the
potential for sustainable development in aviation."
Shorris says he wants to build terminals, baggage equipment,
offices, stores and restaurants that "do not produce greenhouse gas
emissions, and which produce or support enough green energy to
begin to offset the emissions generated by the planes."
Steve Rosenberg, a senior vice president at the environmental
group Scenic Hudson, sits on a citizens advisory panel on Stewart.
He said his group will hold Shorris to his promise.
has certainly taken on the look of an up-and-comer. There's a new
exit off Interstate 84 with a wide access road into the airport's
350 new parking spaces. The port projects 900,000 passengers will
use Stewart in 2008, triple the volume of just two years ago.
Passengers and airlines have expressed appreciation for the lack
of congestion, which Shorris says will be a major selling point in
his efforts to bring more international flights to Stewart.
All the while, nearby, boarded-up military barracks still
stand... as a reminder of just what a difference a few years can