Today, Congressman Sires was joined by mayors and elected officials representing various municipalities along the Hudson River Waterfront. This press conference addressed the growing concern communities throughout the New Jersey 8th Congressional District has had regarding increased helicopter traffic, along with safety issues and quality of life impact.
"The practice of having helicopters fly at lower altitudes creates a constant noise nuisance and safety issues for those in NJ living along the Hudson River," said Congressman Sires. "I am pleased to have the widespread support of all the elected officials here today or their representatives, calling on the Federal Aviation Administration for a ban of tourist helicopter traffic along the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. As a member of the United States House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I will work with my colleagues to propose legislation on the need to restrict tourist helicopter traffic and work with the FAA to restrict these tourists' aircrafts."
"The number-one priority must be safety, for those on the ground as well as for pilots and anyone who boards a tourist helicopter to see the sights along the Hudson River," said U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. "Given the amount of tourist helicopter traffic over the Hudson, an FAA restriction of those flights over the river's New Jersey side makes sense. I commend Congressman Sires and the local government officials he is working with for proactively taking this initiative before a tourist helicopter tragedy occurs in New Jersey."
"I strongly support the efforts of my good friend, Congressman Albio Sires, to reduce the quantity and improve the safety of helicopter traffic within the Hudson River air corridor," said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise. "The tourism industry's desire to buzz by landmarks shouldn't trump the rights of our waterfront residents to enjoy their homes in peace. And surely safety must take precedence over profit when it comes to regulating local airspace. I urge Congressman Sires' colleagues on the House Transportation Committee, the FAA, and the Department of Homeland Security to heed his call for new, smarter regulations."
"It's time for a ban on tourist helicopters the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. They bring no benefit to New Jersey while they fly too frequently, to low, and too loudly over our homes and parks," said Mayor Zimmer of Hoboken.
"Congressman Sires is completely correct in calling for the ban until such time that stricter controls are put in place by the FAA on these troublesome flights," said State Senator and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas J. Sacco."This is very simply a matter of protecting both public safety and the quality life of the residents living near the river."
Union City Mayor and NJ State Senator Brian Stack said, "During the course of the past few months, at the request of local residents, my office has written to the FAA, conveying concern with low-flying helicopters that cause disturbance and potential hazard. The recent crash demonstrates that stricter guidelines are needed in the immediate future and that the concerns of local residents were warranted."
"Helicopter traffic in Guttenberg has increased over the years----affecting the quality of life of my residents," said Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff."That is why I am supporting the efforts of Congressman Albio Sires for calling on the ban of tourist helicopters along the New Jersey waterfront."
"In the past several years, helicopter traffic--in and around West New York--has caused a major disturbance to my residents along the Hudson River Waterfront," said Mayor Felix Roque. "I support Congressman Sires efforts to ban tourist helicopter flights over and near the town of West New York."
Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith, who has grappled with low flying aircraft issues over his city, supports Congressman Sires' efforts to enhance and improve helicopter safety for the entire county. "Whether we're talking about sightseeing flights over the Hudson or executive charters over Bayonne, our citizens deserve to be safe and sound in their own homes," said Mayor Smith. "The noise and sudden impact of these low-flying air craft adversely affects our citizen's quality of life."
"The issue of low flying helicopters is a threat to the health, safety, and welfare of residents throughout Hudson County," said Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason."This is not about politics; it is about putting people first and putting an end to this dangerous practice. That is why I support Congressman Sires to call on the FAA to ban all tourist helicopter traffic."
"I want to thank Congressman Sires for taking the lead on the important issues regarding the safety and quality of life for the residents of Weehawken pertaining to continued low flying helicopters along the shorelines of Weehawken and our neighboring towns. I look forward to working with him and my colleagues on this very important issue" said Weehawken First Ward Councilwoman Carmela Silvestri Ehret.
"I want to thank Congressman Sires and Senator Menendez for making the safety and quality of life of their residents their number one priority. As a member of the law enforcement community and the Hudson County Board of Freeholders, I am very aware of the concerns the residents have regarding the recent increase of tourist helicopters along the NJ side of the Hudson River," said Freeholder Anthony Romano. "I look forward to working with Congressman Sires to call on the FAA to restrict tourist helicopter traffic."