Goof afternoon. Today’s points:
- Up in the air at MacArthur Airport
- PAC money in AD11
- Decoding Trumpspeak
Holding pattern at airport
Expansion at Long Island MacArthur Airport is in a bit of a holding pattern, airport Commissioner Shelley LaRose-Arken and town Supervisor Angie Carpenter told the editorial board during a visit Wednesday. Growth means convincing airlines that MacArthur is worth the investment, and that requires data which won’t be available until next year from the consultants studying the L.I. market.
Is there interest in international travel with discount carriers? Would a flight to Las Vegas be as popular as it was years ago? And what is the best way to market the regional airport to potential travelers?
Meanwhile, there are a few interesting things happening there. Southwest Airlines, the main tenant, will introduce larger aircraft for the upcoming holidays — Boeing 737-800s that will increase capacity on the carrier’s Florida and Baltimore flights by 400 seats per day. LaRose-Arken said Southwest hopes to make the change permanent in 2017. American also is upgrading to larger regional jets that will add 20 to 50 seats to its Philadelphia flights next year.
Perhaps their biggest news is that the airport is no longer looking to erect a temporary customs facility, instead going right to the development of a permanent structure. Plans for the $11 million project call for design work next year and construction in 2018. And it may be built on the north side of the airport, closer to what will be the new Ronkonkoma Hub and revamped train station, with a double track to speed travel to NYC. That would be one step toward moving the main terminal itself there, a dream of many who want to see the airport thrive and expand — assuming the consultants’ studies support such a move and airlines express an interest in that and, well, yes, there are lots of moving parts.
Point for Point
Parsing Trump’s words
In his immigration policy speech Wednesday night, did Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump actually walk back his early campaign promise to deport the nation’s estimated 11 million immigrants here illegally?
Trump did say he would create “a new special deportation task force focused on identifying and quickly removing the most dangerous criminal illegal immigrants.”
This seems to indicate a limited force that would focus on a subset of the targeted population, not unlike what President Barack Obama has directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to do now. The word “task” might imply a focused and specific mission. And because a similar program is already in place, he probably wouldn’t have a difficult time expanding it.
At the same time, he once again positively referenced President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s controversial Operation Wetback program of mass deportation. And Trump said definitively that “anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation.” But once again, there was no detail on how he would follow through.
At the very least, Trump appears to have offered a little something for everyone.
‘Major victory’ has downside
Phil Ramos’ fervent opposition to a charter school for Brentwood and Central Islip this year helped put a target on the back of the incumbent assemblyman, as a super PAC spends to aid his primary opponent, Giovanni Mata.
Mailers opposing Ramos criticize him for voting for tax breaks for yacht owners and for taking trips to Orlando that were advertised as legislative conferences, but which they described as “lavish vacations.”
The PAC, New Yorkers for Independent Action, supports charter schools and wants to pass an education tax credit. As of mid-July, the committee’s campaign finance filing showed it had raised $2.8 million and spent $1.3 million.
In March, the proposed Long Island Children’s Academy withdrew its application to open a K-2 school for 168 students, saying that the issue had become too divisive. Ramos called the withdrawal “a major victory for our community.” He is being supported by the teacher-backed PAC Fund for Great Public Schools.
This is the second Assembly District 11 matchup between Ramos and Mata, and the Sept. 13 Democratic primary will all but decide the race, as no Republican candidate is on the ballot.
Be back Tuesday
The Point is taking Friday and Monday off and will be back in your inboxes Tuesday afternoon. Have a great Labor Day weekend.