T.F. Green Runway Expansion May Not Be Affordable Right Now

According to Cynthia Needham of the Projo, the state budget situation may kill plans for the proposed Green Airport runway extention…

In a letter last week to the chairman of the [Rhode Island Airport Corporation] board, Warwick Representatives Joseph M. McNamara and Eileen S. Naughton criticized the agency for not keeping the Federal Aviation Administration and the Rhode Island public better informed about their spending plans for the proposed longer runway.
Their frustrations come on the heels of an FAA letter last month to the Airport Corporation saying it will contribute only $150 million to the runway extension project at Green, despite estimates that project costs could total more than $500 million. That letter also raised questions of whether the runway plans have grown too costly and possibly overreaching, given the transportation needs of passengers at T.F. Green.
The FAA’s contribution would leave the Airport Corporation, an independent state agency, responsible for a bill of $350 million or more if it wants to implement expansion plans. The agency says it may eventually float bonds to pay its share….
In an interview last month, Airport Corporation CEO Mark Brewer (who will step down as CEO today to run the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, in New Hampshire) said the corporation will plan on looking at other funding sources including floating bonds or increasing passenger facility charges once it selects a preferred expansion alternative, next year.
If it does choose to float bonds, it will need approval from the General Assembly, which must sign off on bonding for any state agency, including the Airport Corporation.

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