Politicians Say No To Runways

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Trees, and a local council's unwillingness to pay to have them removed, are threatening Danbury Municipal Airport in Connecticut. The FAA and the state are willing to pay 97 percent of the $4.5 million cost. But Mayor Mark Boughton said the airport is a drain on civic coffers and he's reluctant to spend any more money on it. The FAA has warned the city it will displace the thresholds of the airport's two runways if the trees aren't cut down soon and until the trees are gone, the FAA won't contribute to any maintenance and repair costs at the airport. "The net effect of this could be shutting the airport," said Boughton. Said airport administrator Paul Estefan, "We're going to lose our runway and there's almost no money involved." If the runways are shortened enough, that could mean jets and larger aircraft now based there will move. Also, "It's a joke, an embarrassment," said Estefan. The FAA and state funds already offered would buy easements to control the trees; Danbury politicians have so far refused to pay their $110,000 share.