Plan Needs To Be Approved By Customs and Border Protection

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Sen. Charles Schumer is looking to turn Long Island’s MacArthur Airport into an international airport serving popular vacation spots such as the Bahamas and Aruba.

“International service would be a real boom,” Schumer said during a press conference Monday. “It’s a win-win. International flights provide Long Islander’s with direct access to popular vacation spots and it helps our local economy.”

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The plan would require the Department of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to help the airport develop, execute and approve a plan that would allow flights from certain international destinations to land. Current facilities would need to be retrofitted before the airport could provide international flights.

“The cost would not be very great but the benefit would be large,” Schumer said. “As the economists say, in terms of cost-benefit analysis this is a home run.”

Some residents in the area are against the plan, raising concerns about traffic and noise pollution.

One local homeowner who used to live near John F. Kennedy International Airport is concerned expanding MacArthur Airport will decrease the quality of life in the area.

“Our house used to shake at night when the planes went over it and many a time our chimney shook,” he said. “I didn’t move out here to live next to a busy airport.”

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“This is a local airport and I think the traffic would be outrageous,” one woman said.

“It’s just going to bring a lot more traffic in here, there’s going to be a lot more traffic over my house, it’s just going to be an annoyance,” Centereach resident George Montebello said.

Town of Islip Supervisor Tom Croci, who supports the plan, said he is working on a traffic plan.

“One of the things we’re looking to do is try to connect this terminal with the Long Island Rail Road main train station in Ronkonkoma with some sort of a people mover,” Croci said. “So that takes cars off the road, people can now take the train right to the plane.”

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