Opponents of Fed Ex Hub Appeal FAA Approval

JANUARY 17, 2002

Opponents of a planned FedEx hub here filed a court appeal Thursday seeking to block a decision by the Federal Aviation Administration that approved the project. The petition was filed with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., said Demian Schane, a Washington attorney representing foes of the hub.

FAA officials on Dec. 31 issued a favorable ruling for construction of the $300 million sorting and distribution hub for FedEx at the Piedmont Triad International Airport. The ruling capped a 38-month study on the environmental impact and feasibility of the project.

But opponents say the decision was wrong, based on manipulated data and insufficient analysis designed to benefit FedEx at the cost of taxpayers. "The FAA's conclusion can only be characterized as attempted justification for a project whose criteria was dictated by a private corporation to a government agency," Mark Warren, director of the anti-hub Alliance for Legal Action, said at a news conference Wednesday announcing the appeal.

A FedEx spokeswoman said Wednesday the company had no comment on the appeal, but reconfirmed its commitment to the project.

FedEx wants to open the hub in about four years. The project includes roughly $170 million in additional public improvements at or near the airport, including a new runway.

Hub supporters see the hub as a benefit to a region losing jobs in textiles and other troubled industries. Critics say the hub will harm residential areas with overnight jet noise, increased traffic congestion, and additional air and water pollution.

Source: Associated Press