Warwick City Council may drop airport lawsuit


The drive for a longer runway at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick has been going on for decades.

The latest holdup is a suit by the City Council. But an announcement Tuesday of the potential of 75 percent funding from the federal government helps the City Council to back off the lawsuit.

“Prior to today, everything has been pie in the sky. It’s been a dream. It’s refreshing to know that the hard work and negotiations — if we come to this agreement, which we are close — can take place. There are funds in place to complete what has been negotiated,” City Council member Joseph Solomon said.

Neighbors of the airport are interested in mitigation. In some cases, that just means a buyout.

Joseph O’Rourke, who lives near the airport, said he’d leave if he could.

“It’s unfair how they charge us for all these taxes on this house that ain’t worth it,” O’Rourke said.

The $124 million that the airport will apply for to complete their construction work is competitive. Other airports want that money too.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said he thinks Green has a shot.

“With respect to the safety … that’s a priority of FAA. That’s something they want to get done themselves very quickly. I think the extension is going to be very competitive, but we’re going to be in their every moment making sure that the decision makers are aware of how important this is to Rhode Island,” Reed said.

Warwick City Council may agree to withdraw the lawsuit this week.

An application for the construction work will be filed by the beginning of March, but airport President and CEO Kevin Dillon said the work won’t be completed before 2016.

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