Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ05) is encouraging Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to review and evaluate the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Airspace Redesign Plan.
In a joint letter with Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ11), Garrett warns that this plan has the potential to adversely affect the quality of life of his constituents. He explains, "Serious questions remain about what effect the implementation of airspace redesign will have on our constituents with respect to environmental quality and aircraft noise."
Garrett has criticized previous actions by the FAA. He has aggressively pursued both legislative and administrative initiatives that would force the FAA to scrap the airspace redesign over New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. He has encouraged the FAA to reconsider the plan to give greater weight to environmental factors, including aircraft noise and plane emissions. In 2007, Congressman Garrett was part of a bipartisan coalition of Members that called for a GAO report to analyze the FAA's airspace redesign, which later revealed that the FAA did not fully consider or give equal weight to the environmental impact on New Jersey and the surrounding areas when the proposal was being planned.
Additionally, Garrett offered an amendment to the legislation appropriating funding to the Department of Transportation that would prevent the FAA from implementing the airspace redesign in 2007.
The text of the letter is below:
Dear Secretary LaHood,
As representatives from Northern New Jersey whose constituents would be adversely affected by the ongoing implementation of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia (NY/NJ/PHL) Metropolitan Area Airspace Redesign Plan, we strongly urge you, in your new capacity as the Secretary of Transportation, to thoroughly review and evaluate this ongoing program. Serious questions remain about what effect the implementation of airspace redesign will have on our constituents with respect to environmental quality and aircraft noise.
We continue to believe that when the FAA crafted the airspace redesign plan, improved environmental quality and noise reduction should have been part of the project's purpose and need, along with increasing efficiency and safety. We also continue to have concerns that the airspace redesign could result in a net increase in aircraft noise, which would adversely affect the quality of life of our constituents, while offering only a modest benefit to the flying public. As the Government Accountability Office (GAO) acknowledged in its evaluation of the project, a cost-benefit analysis of the airspace redesign was not performed prior to its implementation.
The airspace redesign continues to be a seriously contentious issue in our districts. Under the new airspace many residents who have never been exposed to aircraft noise will find it to be a part of their daily lives. We continue to believe that creating an airspace in the NY/NJ/PHL region that improves efficiency, improves safety, reduces aircraft noise, and is friendlier to the environment is possible. Achieving this goal will, however, require a thorough review of the program as it already exists. We look forward to working with you and your staff to meet this objective.
Member of Congress