Philadelphia AIrport Expansion

Congressman Patrick Meehan (D-PA) recently questioned Federal Aviation Administrator Randy Babbitt regarding the Philadelphia International Airport Expansion Project. The questioning was part of a Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Aviation hearing. Part of the questioning related to whether the FAA intended to condemn properties outside of Philadelphia for the project.

Congressman stated in a press release: “I sought clarification on eminent domain powers in relation to the Philadelphia Airport expansion.” However, there was no such clarification given during the hearing as Congressman Meehan’s allotted time ran out. A video of the questioning can be found at:
 

After over a decade of planning, a $5.2 billion expansion of Philadelphia International Airport was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. The project will require a significant amount of land acquisition in Philadelphia and Delaware County.

Those properties in Philadelphia could be acquired through the City’s power of eminent domain. However, airport chief executive officer Mark Gale stated that “We do not have eminent-domain power in Delaware County. We will try to voluntarily have a transaction with a willing seller.” His statement presumably is based upon a 2006 amendment to the Pennsylvania Eminent Domain Code which generally prohibits "extraterritorial" condemnations – i.e., condemnations beyond a municipality’s borders.

If your property is being considered for acquisition – either through a condemnation proceeding or amicably – you should know your rights and potential for compensation. It appears that this project will be a reality and should not be ignored.