SENATE APPROVES MUSTO/BAKER RESOLUTION FOR CARGO AIRPORT STUDY

HARRISBURG – The state Senate has adopted a resolution sponsored by Senators Raphael J. Musto and Lisa Baker directing the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the potential risks and benefits of the proposed cargo airport project on the greater Hazleton area.

“We should not move forward one inch on this project until all questions are answered and that we are assured that it is in the best interests of the taxpayers of northeast Pennsylvania,” Musto said. “This detailed study will provide us the answers we need before we commit more money and resources.”

Baker added, “The public has a right to know and analyze the details of the proposal and to seek expert advice as to its feasibility. This study is not only prudent, it is absolutely necessary before we can seriously consider investing hundreds of millions of dollars in public monies.”

The resolution requires that the study be completed by June 30, 2008.

While the two area senators said the promise of the proposed cargo airport might improve the economy and generate new jobs, the project must be weighed against an estimated $1.6 billion cost and the possibility of committing the county to additional funding obligations down the road.

They said they want to know more about the developers’ plans, their willingness to invest private funds and what alternatives might exist should the project fall short of its goals.

Baker and Musto also said they want a detailed understanding on how the proposed airport authority would be structured and authorized to incur debt.

The lawmakers added that the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee study can pinpoint how the proposed cargo airport would impact the community’s current infrastructure such as schools, highways and utilities.

CONTACT:

Brian Grove (Office of Senator Baker)
(570) 675-3931

Charles M. Tocci (Office of Senator Musto)
(717) 787-5166