A public information session originally scheduled for the end of July on the proposed widening of Republic Airport's Taxiway Bravo has been postponed until further notice.
This announcement came from Republic Airport Commission Chairman Frank Nocerino, a North Massapequa resident.
"The information center will be designed to brief the surrounding community on what is being undertaken, hear their questions, respond to why this project is being undertaken, whether there is any impact on air and ground operations at the airport and when this safety project would get under way," Nocerino stated in a press release.
In June the RAC tabled voting on a resolution to widen the distance between Taxiway B and Runway 1/19 from 200 to 400 feet in order to more safely accommodate aircraft wingspans on the ground. Gary Lewi, a spokesperson for the Farmingdale-based Republic Airport, previously told the Farmingdale Observer that the taxiway relocation would give two simultaneously taxiing aircraft greater wing clearance, permitting safer handling on the ground.
Nocerino said the commission considered a late July public outreach effort regarding the taxiway relocation, but postponed it in consideration of the summer schedules of many residents. In addition, the commission instructed NYSDOT to obtain the Federal Aviation Administration's New York Airports District Office (ADO) position.
This $7 million project was recommended by the FAA. Originally addressed in 2000, the FAA sent the RAC a memorandum in February stating "... we have determined that due to the non-standard separation between Runway1-19 and current parallel Taxiway B, the state should consider undertaking the relocation of Taxiway B in this fiscal year as a first priority."
Farmingdale resident Helen Norjen, a former RAC member and current co-chairperson of the Woodlands Civic Association's Republic Airport Committee, has been a vocal opponent of this and other airport projects.
"The most important thing is non-standard for what size planes?" Norjen said. "Tell the public what you want to change it for."
However, Nocerino said a decision will not be made until more information has been handed down from the FAA.
"We will require additional clarification regarding whether the FAA views this as an imminent safety hazard or an issue that needs to be resolved in due time," Nocerino explained.
He is also requesting further information on alternatives that may be available to the airport to meet the goal of improving the safety of the taxiway.
"Safety remains the paramount issue for this commission and we will do everything within our power to ensure that this airport operates well within the safety regulations as set down by federal and state authorities," Nocerino continued. "Having said that, it must be done with the knowledge of our neighbors, with clear-cut instructions from the FAA and with a clear understanding of what is and what isn't, being proposed."
Nocerino further reiterated that the commission will not vote on the relocation of the taxiway without public input on the matter. Nocerino later told the Farmingdale Observer that the taxiway relocation vote is off the table for the Aug. 9 RAC meeting.
"We're having just our regular Aug. 9 meeting," Nocerino added.
The next Republic Airport Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Republic Airport Administration Building, on Route 110 in East Farmingdale. For more information call 631-752-7707 or visit www.republicairport.net.