Your article titled “Airport Seeks Funding for Major Terminal Expansion” was very thorough, however judging by the comments online some readers have some serious misconception about the potential project.

There are several key points that Islanders need to understand:

The $1 billion mentioned in the article is not available for any other purpose including affordable housing. The FAA has made this money available for a variety of airport projects and it comes from the fees paid when passengers buy tickets. Airports across the county will be competing for these funds and we on the Vineyard have a good chance of receiving some of this money.

No construction will happen without public review. The first request from the Vineyard airport is for $6 million to create a design for the terminal renovation. This design project includes expanding the building to better accommodate the TSA security screening process and post-screening waiting area as well as the entire infrastructure related to the terminal such as the access roads, parking lots and traffic management at the front of the terminal. Assuming the airport receives this money and a design is created the next step would be to have the plan reviewed by the relevant towns, the MVC, and a multitude of federal and state agencies with many opportunities for public comment.

The size of the terminal building has no impact on the number of people coming to the Island or the number or size of commercial flights. The airlines determine their own schedules and the type of aircraft they use. The airport management has no control over the airlines. The intent of this project is to provide a safe, secure and reasonably comfortable experience for the traveling public.

The terminal is used only for commercial flights (Cape Air, JetBlue, etc.) and not for private planes.

If a design is approved, the renovation has the potential for being profitable for the local construction industry.

It is important to understand that the current terminal design was started in 1997 and completed in 1999. At the time it was a very nice functional building. Then came Sept. 11, 2001, and air travel changed dramatically. Security screening became a necessity, something the terminal was not designed to accommodate. Space was taken from various other terminal functions and the TSA function was shoehorned in. Over the years TSA has required more space. Screened passengers are herded into a tent, open on the sides to the weather with porto-potties. There is no air conditioning or heat. Passengers have missed flights because of delays going through the single security line.

The airport commission and management are attempting to make the experience of passengers arriving and departing on commercial flights a pleasant one as well as for the family and friends they are picking them up. We are all Island residents and are all very familiar with all the challenges we are facing. We are working cooperatively with the Island Housing Trust and the MVC to address some of these issues but the airport itself is very limited in what we can do based on both federal and state restrictions.

Bob Rosenbaum