Legislation Would Allow CT Airport Authority to use Eminent Domain to Expand Sikorsky Memorial Airport through Land Seizure
STRATFORD – Mayor Laura R. Hoydick is calling out the Connecticut Airport Authority on legislation they are pushing before the Connecticut General Assembly which would transfer the powers of eminent domain relative to airports from the State’s Department of Transportation to the Connecticut Airport Authority.
The legislation, HB 5308, An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Connecticut Airport Authority and Changes to the Board of Directors of Tweed-New Haven Airport Authority, has received a joint favorable approval from the legislature’s Transportation Committee, and awaits action by the House of Representatives. CAA Executive Director Kevin Dillon testified in support of the bill when it was before the committee.
“This is precisely what we have been warning about with regard to the interest of the CAA in their effort to obtain the Sikorsky Memorial Airport from Bridgeport through a non-public process,” said Stratford Mayor Laura R. Hoydick. “The CAA has stated they are interested in obtaining the Sikorsky Memorial Airport and restoring passenger service there, yet the runway length is insufficient for them to do that. At the same time they are pushing this bill to obtain eminent domain authority. It certainly seems that their intention is to expand those runways through land seizure into Stratford residential neighborhoods or environmentally sensitive marshlands surrounding the airport to accomplish their goal. This would be key to their vision of competing with Tweed Airport in New Haven. Why else would they seek to take the powers of eminent domain from DOT?”
In addition to granting the CAA new powers, the legislation also removes powers from municipalities. Under this proposal, a municipality would have to ask the CAA for authority to purchase an airport, an authority they do not currently have but seem to be imposing.
Sikorsky Memorial Airport is located entirely within the territorial boundaries of the Town of Stratford, but has been owned by the City of Bridgeport since 1937. Last month, when the City of Bridgeport revealed they intended to sell the Airport to the Connecticut Airport Authority without a public bidding process, Mayor Hoydick publicly expressed a desire for Stratford to have an opportunity to purchase the airport to control the kind of development that would take place there, protect the sensitive environmental conditions near the airport, and promote the interests of Stratford and Bridgeport residents living in the area as well as the interests of the region while complimenting activity at Tweed as opposed to competing against it.
The current regular legislative session of the Connecticut General Assembly concludes on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022.
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