Open Forum on Privatization of Westchester Airport
September 18, 2017 The Citizens of a Responsible County Airport will hold a public forum on Tuesday, September 26 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Ethical Cultural Society at 7 Saxon Wood Road, White Plains.
Several known grassroots groups of concerned citizens from across Westchester County and Fairfield County have raised multiple concerns in opposition to privatizing Westchester County Airport.
The last approved master plan for the Westchester County Airport was over 30 years ago. Multiple concerns have been raised about the most recent proposed plans from 2012, which already cost tax payers fees of $1.4 million.
The concerns with the 2012 master plan include, but are not limited to:
• Environmental concerns • Increases in capacity of runways, taxiways, ramps, gates, hangars, terminal, parking areas, and access roads, • Growth and expansion scenarios • Volume and constraints on airline flights
The September 26 public forum will consist of a panel discussion and will be followed by a question and answer period.
The forum panelists include Carolyn Cunningham, Federated Conservationists of Westchester County; Jonathan Wang, Citizens for a Responsible County Airport; and Martin Rogowsky, Purchase Environmental Protective Association (PEPA) and former Westchester County Legislator for District 6.
The moderator will be Ellen Weininger, of Grassroots Environmental Education.
The event is sponsored by Grassroots Environmental Education, Citizens for a Responsible County Airport, Westchester for Change, Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, Purchase Environmental Protective Association, and Sierra Club Lower Hudson Group.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino believes that the privatization of the Westchester County Airport will provide significant gains for taxpayers and improve travel experiences for passengers.
Under a private-public agreement, Astorino says Westchester County is to maintain airport ownership and will control all of the environmental oversights for the airport’s major improvements and capital projects, which is overseen by the County Board of Legislators. Furthermore, Astorino says a private operator will make lease payments to ensure a long-term revenue source.
In a recent flyer sent from County Executive Astorino to constituents, he says, “Westchester has a unique opportunity to help taxpayers and the flying public. Private companies have managed our airport since World War II. Through an innovative public-private partnership under the FAA, private sector operation will continue, but with these advantages: airport revenue will be released to benefit all County residents, jobs will be created, and new passenger amenities introduced - all with no expansion to the airport. Serving the pubic with a better, not bigger, airport - that’s smart government.”
Approval for a public-private agreement for the Westchester County Airport to operate with a corporate 40-year term lease requires a supermajority vote of 12 of the 17 members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators. This vote is expected to go in front of the Board of Legislatives sometime this winter.
Aerial view of Westchester County Airport
Public Hearing to Review Westchester County Airport Modifications
The hearing will include a presentation of the Draft Master Plan that is dated April 2017. There will be an opportunity for attendees to comment on the plan.
The summary of the plan from the DY Consultants Team recommended a variety of modifications including, but not limited to, the runway system, taxiway system, high speed exits, departure staging areas, automated weather systems, airport beacon, satellite based navigation, extensions of apron death, redevelopment of apron parking, hangar storage, long term/car rental and auto parking areas, and construction of a building to accommodate the United States Customs, police and emergency control.
Doors to the meeting will open at 6:00 p.m. and free parking will be available at the County Center parking lot at 198 Central Avenue, White Plains.
Westchester County Airport (HPN) is presently served by six airlines.
The airport has nonstop service to 23 destinations that are listed below.
Charlotte (CLT) Chicago, IL (ORD) Philadelphia (PHL) Washington, DC (DCA)
Miami, FL (MIA)
Cape Air (Departs Hangar A)
Hyannis, MA ( HYA) Lebanon, NH (LEB) Martha's Vineyard, MA (MVY) Nantucket, MA (ACK) Provincetown, MA ( PVC)
Delta Atlanta, GA (ATL) Detroit, MI (DTW)
jetBlue Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) Fort Myers, FL (RSW) Orlando, FL (MCO) Tampa, FL (TPA) West Palm Beach, FL (PBI)
United Chicago, IL (ORD)
Tradewind Aviation (Departs Hangar M)
Deerfield Valley (4V8) Martha's Vineyard (MVY) Nantucket (ACK)
Major New York and New Jersey Airports
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) Jamaica, NY Info: 718-244-4444 www.panynj.gov
Laguardia Airport (LGA) Flushing, NY Info: 718-533-3400 www.panynj.gov
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) Newark, NJ Airport Info: 973-961-6000 www.panynj.gov