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Sun, Aug 21, 2022

Tweed New Haven Airport to Expand Despite Local Objections

The Will of the People: The Might of the Dollar

Notwithstanding the vehement objections of local residents and city leaders, the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority has approved a new 43-year lease and management agreement with Goldman-Sachs-owned Avports LLC, thereby clearing the way for a $100-million airport expansion.

The Tweed New Haven Airport (HVN) is a non-hub primary commercial service facility, the boundaries of which extend into the municipalities of New Haven and East Haven Connecticut. Tweed is one of only two Connecticut airports with regularly scheduled Part 121 service—the other being Bradley International.

The tumultuous meeting at which the lease agreement was hastily and unceremoniously ratified saw the entirety of East Haven’s town representatives vote against the proposal, and East Haven mayor Joe Carfora speak forcefully on behalf of his constituents—albeit to no avail.

"I want it to be clear to my constituents: I am against the expansion of this airport to the East Haven side.” Carfora declared to the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority. “This agreement is being rushed, meetings and engagement were limited leading up to this vote using COVID-19 and remote meetings in order to limit transparency.” Carfora added: "East Haven takes it on the chin while we will inherit all the traffic, transient population, parking headaches, ecological strip-mining, noise, pollution, and burden on our already taxed public safety departments that will come with this project, while at the same time giving New Haven most of the economic benefit, serving at the behest of Yale and Goldman Sachs.”

Mayor Carfora assertively accused airport authority members as well as the mayor of neighboring New Haven of partnering—for their own benefit—with AvPorts and Goldman Sachs to create a plan that diminishes the quality of life in East Haven and an entire section of New Haven.

Prior to the meeting, the town of East Haven—which has retained specialized counsel to protect its interests—sent the airport authority a litigation letter ordering the preservation of all communications regarding the lease agreement and the circumstances leading up to what East Haven alleges was its rushed and disingenuous signing.

In addition to the lease and development agreement, the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority pushed through resolutions to approve an amended lease between the city and the airport authority, accept a federal Small Community Air Service Development Program grant, create a new advisory committee made up largely of former board members, amend the authority's bylaws, approve an amendment to the agreement with Avports, and publish rules, regulations and minimum standards for the airport.

East Haven representatives attempted to postpone the vote, pointing out they’d been afforded only 72-hours to read and comprehend the 660-page document detailing the resolutions. Their sound reasoning fell on deaf ears, however, and subsequent motions to approve the measures each passed by a 9-4 vote.

Some twenty members of the public spoke prior to the votes, all but four of whom objected to what they felt was the airport authority rushing to approve a self-serving enterprise.



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