Tinicum Township Commissioner Patrick McCarthy shows some of the features of the new expansion plan at a press conference announcing a plan to expand the Philadelphia International Airport, at the airport's arrival wing on Monday. Credit: Charles Mostoller
A tentative deal to expand the Philadelphia International Airport after eight years of resistance by Tinicum Township residents has been reached, officials announced Monday.
"They wanted to push into Tinicum Township and take about 72 homes. This saves the homes, reconfigures the way they were going to do the expansion, and businesses that will be affected will be relocated," said Delaware County Council chairman Tom McCarrigle.
The agreement still needs Federal Aviation Administration approval and will be put to a vote this Thursday for Tinicum residents, said Tinicum Township Board of Commissioners President Thomas Giancristoforo.
"Myself and the other four commissioners have worked vigorously to come up with something that we know we can live with and the residents are protected; that’s all we’re concerned with," Giancristoforo said.
"Once we knew that our residents were protected, that 72 homes would not be purchased and that they would not be expanding into the residential area, that made us comfortable."
The planned expansion includes the addition of a 1,500-foot runway and is expected to cut passenger wait times in half.
Instead of taking homes, the UPS Center near the airport will move to the former Scott Paper buildings nearby, the airport's cargo facilities will be reorganized, and wooded land near the airport will be developed.
This decision comes after years of resistance by neighbors groups and high school students.
The community also stands to make about $11 million from the agreement in back taxes owed by the airport, held off due to litigation related to the expansion, according to sources familiar with the deal. About $1.86 million in taxes for each year since 2007, when four lawsuits over the expansion plan were filed against the airport by Delaware County, Tinicum Township and the Interboro School District, can now be paid, as this agreement effectively ends those lawsuits.