Wed, Jan 02, 2008
Opponents To Lengthening Say Former Chairman Made
Six years ago in Florida,
Jacksonville Port Authority Chairman Martin Fiorentino was trying
to gain the votes needed to split the authority into separate
entities to manage airports and seaports. In a reported move to
compromise with lawmakers, he wrote a letter claiming the airport
board had no intentions of seeking a longer runway at Craig
Municipal Airport (CRG), and expressed hope future boards would
honor that intent after the agency was split.
Fast-forward to today, the eve of a scheduled January 3 vote on
a proposal before the city council's land use and zoning committee
to extend the runway from 4,000 to 6,000 feet. The airport board
wants the longer runway.
Proponents say it will be safer and more economically attractive
for the community. Opponents respond the May 2001 letter from
Fiorentino created a covenant not to extend the runway.
"I said I wanted something in writing, no more empty promises.
He said, 'I will get that promise for you,'" Lynette Self, who
served on the city council from 1999 to 2007 and opposed extending
the runway, told The Jacksonville Business Journal. "That's how
important the split was to the board. I took that to the bank."
Complicating matters is the fact the agency was, indeed, split.
Fiorentino went over to the seaports side.
Aviation authority Executive Director John Clark dismisses the
idea the letter, and a more limited 2001 authority resolution, bind
the airport to Fiorentino's old statement.
"At this point in time, I would almost characterize the actions
that took place then as irrelevant."
Whether the land use committee agrees will be clearer after
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