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Grow Smart RI Board backs airport runway extension

T.F. Green

T.F. Green Airport terminal. Photo from T.F. Green Facebook page.

Asks Warwick City Council to drop its appeal of FAA approval

December 20, 2011 – Providence, RI – At its December 15, 2011 meeting, the Board of Directors of Grow Smart Rhode Island endorsed the latest proposal to extend the T.F. Green Airport runway by 1,530 feet to a total length of 8,700 feet. The proposal earned the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier this fall. “We believe that an expeditious implementation of this proposal will advance several of Grow Smart’s specific goals and values, as well as our overriding priority for sustainable economic growth linked with Rhode Island’s exceptional quality of place”, said its Board Chairman, Howard Kilguss.

Grow Smart is an alliance of business and civic leaders, urban revitalization and environmental advocates, developers, builders, farmers, investors and active citizens. It advocates for policies and programs that support the revitalization of Rhode Island’s Main Streets and town centers, making them more attractive places to live, learn and recreate and for businesses to invest, grow and innovate.

Beyond promoting smart economic growth in Rhode Island’s already developed areas, the group believes this proposal will advance the State’s efforts to expand healthy and affordable transportation options in several ways. “Not only would the extension allow more local residents to pursue relatively hassle free travel to the West Coast, but it would also leverage investments that our state has made in the major intermodal facility at Green Airport”, Grow Smart Executive Director Scott Wolf said, adding “In so doing, it would make it more economically feasible for the MBTA to continue expanding the frequency of its service in and out of Green to Providence, Boston and Wickford Junction”.

Grow Smart believes that because Green is a major transportation hub, mass transit improvements there are a catalyst for a stronger statewide transit system. The organization also contends that improving access to Green Airport – both by air and rail – will contribute to the success of the planned Warwick Station Redevelopment District, creating the type of vibrant, pedestrian and transit friendly mixed use center that will enhance the bottom line for the City of Warwick and the quality of life for its residents.

After more than a decade of debate, Grow Smart has concluded that the runway extension plan approved by the FAA should be an economic development and transportation priority for the state of Rhode Island. “That’s why we request that theWarwick City Council reconsider its decision to appeal the FAA’s approval, an appeal that could reportedly delay Green Airport expansion plans by as much as 3 years”, noted Wolf.

He continued, “To reach its full potential for a high quality of life and broad, sustainable economic opportunity, Rhode Island needs to take intelligent but bold steps to capitalize on its assets and invest in development where solid infrastructure for such development already exists. The proposed Green Airport Runway extension fits well into this strategic framework and presents a major opportunity for our state to move forward. That’s why we at Grow Smart Rhode Island will push vigorously for this proposal to become a reality as soon as possible.”

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