City slighted on Tweed deal

New Haven will miss out on revenue from Gov. Dannel Malloy’s new proposed tax on general aviation aircraft.

As part of a new state tax on “non-military or commercial” flights unveiled by Malloy in his first state budget Feb. 16, East Haven will receive $198,900 from the owners of private aircraft at Tweed New Haven Regional Airport — but New Haven, which shares the land it is located on, will receive nothing. Though the Elm City’s budget gap is projected to grow to $20 million by next year, the Mayor’s office said it thinks the plan is fair.

“East Haven should get [the tax money], because that’s where the neighborhood impact is — the noise from planes, the fueling, and everything,” said City Hall spokesman Adam Joseph Sunday, adding that the general aviation hangar and refuelling station is on the East Haven side.

Joseph said Mayor John DeStefano Jr. will deliver a balanced budget, despite the almost $200,000 in taxation going to East Haven. He went on to say the relationship between East Haven and New Haven in dealing with Tweed Airport is “very productive,” citing a 2009 memorandum that paved the way for runway safety improvements.

Ward 29 Alderman and President of the Board of Aldermen Carl Goldfield said he was not entirely sure of the rationale for the governor’s taxation plan, though he could not blame East Haven Mayor April Almon for looking out for her constituency.

“Our relationship with East Haven on Tweed is not great, but it’s getting better, more cooperative,” he said. “They [have] a smaller portion of the airport, but get an equal say in the airport.”

Goldfield said his foremost concern was that Tweed Airport, as a state resource necessary for economic development, was supported by the state.

The East Haven Mayor’s office did not respond to requests for comment Friday and Sunday.

Gerald Weiner, the vice-chairman of the Tweed Airport Authority Board, said he agreed with DeStefano “100 percent” at a new Haven Chamber of Commerce meeting with Malloy last Wednesday, the New Haven Independent reported.

Though Weiner pushed Malloy at the event to increase support for Tweed Airport, the governor made no commitments.

Malloy’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2011-’12 includes a $1.5 million grant for Tweed Airport, the same amount as allocated last year.

Alon Harish contributed to reporting.

Comments

  • vgperrelli54

    Tweed has benefited over many improvements recently. The irony is that many of Tweed’s opponents cry that the airport is there “for Yale” when it appears to me that nothing could be further from the truth. Surely one of Tweed’s biggest subsidy opponents was Yale Prof. David Cameron. And, when a group of Yalies went to New Orleans to assist Hurrican Katrina victims, they took the train to New York, then surface transportation to the airport. All this to avoid making a connection at Philadelphia? And Yale Transit won’t run service out to Tweed because, as they told me, “the demand isn’t there.” I only wish it were true that Yale DID use Tweed the way the airport’s detractors allege. It is my hope that, with the improvements in place, additional airline service will be garnered, leading to greater use by the university, with the eventual removal of the airport from public subsidy.