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Leaders Pledge Teamwork on Tweed

Posted on August 12, 2021

Mayor Joe Carfora and Rep. Joe Zullo both agree that East Haven “WILL NOT be steamrolled” and that East Haven expansion “IS NOT a forgone conclusion.”

Facing the possibility of runway lengthening, the announcement of the immediate investment in the existing New Haven terminal by private investors, expanded flight services as early as October 2021, and a master plan that proposes moving the Tweed airport terminal to the East Haven side of the airport, East Haven Mayor Joseph Carfora and 99th District Rep. Joe Zullo announced their hardline positions in the duo’s first joint press release since Carfora’s election in 2019. Both cite the need for a bipartisan approach to protecting the Town’s best interests.

Carfora explained, “Since assuming office, I’ve never wavered on Tweed. The expansion of this airport will not be placed on the backs of East Haven taxpayers. Further, while the benefits of an enhanced Tweed are often discussed in regional benefit terms, they are rarely discussed in the context of the traffic, noise, environmental, public service, and health burdens that East Haven will be asked to shoulder. East Haven expansion is NOT a foregone conclusion.”

Zullo added, “As I recently noted, the path to Tweed’s ideal expansion plans runs through the Town of East Haven. We hold the cards and East Haven will NOT be steamrolled by State, regional, or private actors when it comes to Tweed. I’m not an obstructionist, but I am here not only posing the tough questions, but also demanding the tough answers so that our local leaders and residents can make informed decisions on an issue that we all recognize will affect generations to come.”

Following recent updates from Carfora and Zullo, both leaders joined on Thursday to call for specific, and detailed information about the impact that Tweed expansion will have on East Haven—in the areas of tax benefits, environmental concerns/impacts, health concerns, noise, traffic, flight patterns, ticket fares, and state subsidies.

Zullo added “At past hearings and in recent comments, I have requested and have yet to receive economic pro formas delineating the exact economic benefits to East Haven. To his credit, Tweed Airport Director Sean Scanlon immediately contacted me to follow-up on those comments last week and offered a sit down. State officials have also reached out to discuss the millions in funding that are currently subsidizing the airport, and which Mayor Carfora and I believe should be allocated to those impacted by potential airport expansion. Along with the Mayor, I look forward to those meetings and to receiving not only a hard analysis of the economic benefits we can expect, but also a gauge of whether investors in Tweed will guarantee those benefits if plans don’t pan out.”

The duo acknowledged the Tweed announcement as their first official joint release but indicated they’re in regular contact on Tweed and other issues. In making the announcement, they conceded they won’t always agree on every detail of every issue, but pledged to find common ground wherever possible.

Zullo said “The Mayor and I won’t always agree on everything. However, we fundamentally agree that we need to protect East Haven.”

Carfora added, “We’re both committed to pursuing aggressive fact-finding and public awareness campaigns to ensure we get the information we deserve, disseminate it to residents, and provide them meaningful opportunities to sound off and contribute to the conversation.”

Zullo added, “I credit Mayor Carfora for keeping an open mind on exploring litigation on the memorandum of understanding’ that the City of New Haven and Mayor Harp terminated a few years ago, a move I continue to feel strongly about. I also respect the economic and strategic decisions that Mayor Carfora needs to make. His position is thoughtful and well-informed. The Town Attorney, to the extent permissible, has committed to keeping me updated on the Town’s due-diligence in exploring this option.”

Carfora followed, “I vowed from early on in my term to work with Rep. Zullo on all Tweed issues. Together we are much stronger, and we are in full agreement that we must protect the interests of our community and its residents. I’ve tasked our legal team with exploring every possible option, including those raised by Rep. Zullo, and we continue to review those options. Most critically, Rep. Zullo and I agree that Tweed is not a partisan political issue, but one of generational importance to East Haven and one that we will work together on for the benefit of our community.”