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Philadelphia airport, neighboring township sign deal to end long-running battle over expansion

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PHILADELPHIA — A long-awaited multibillion-dollar expansion of Philadelphia International Airport cleared a major roadblock Wednesday with the resolution of a dispute involving a neighboring township.

Officials said agreements between the city of Philadelphia and Tinicum Township, Interboro School District and Delaware County will resolve lawsuits over the issue.

Airport officials said provisions will allow the expansion to move forward without the need to acquire 72 homes and relocation of about 300 Tinicum residents. The parties announced an agreement in principle in May, and the agreements were signed Wednesday. Under the agreement, the airport will resume payments to the other parties that ceased after a previous agreement expired in 2007.

The expansion includes a 1,500-foot extension of a runway to accommodate larger aircraft to travel longer international routes, as well as interior renovations, a new car rental facility and a people-mover to speed passenger access between terminals.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said the project is intended "to improve passenger experiences, accommodate future growth and expand our role as a leader in global air travel." Officials have said it could boost the airport's regional economic impact from $14.4 billion in 2006 to $26.4 billion by 2025.

The work is to be completed in phases over 12 to 15 years at the airport, which sees more than 30 million travelers every year. The project will be funded through airport revenue bonds, passenger facility charges, Federal Airport Improvement Program grants, and other airport revenues, according to the project website.

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