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Public Statements

FAA Reauthorization Act Of 2009

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Chair, I rise today to express my disappointment with this legislation, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009. For many years now, I have fought the FAA on their so-called New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia airspace redesign plan. This plan would redirect thousands of flights per year over the houses of many of my constituents. This increased aircraft noise affects people's daily lives in many ways. It is more than a nuisance. Aircraft noise can adversely affect children in schools; the elderly in nursing facilities; and families in their homes. Additionally, these homes may decrease in value as a result of this aircraft noise.

Proponents of the airspace redesign have long maintained that it is necessary to redesign the airspace because a significant portion of the delays in our national airspace derive from the tri-state area. We have long maintained that redesigning the airspace would have very little effect on delays but would adversely affect the lives of thousands of people.

Yesterday, I, along with Congressmen Jim Himes and Rodney Frelinghuysen submitted an amendment to the Rules Committee. This amendment would have prohibited the FAA from continuing with its implementation of the airspace redesign until it conducted a study on alternatives to reduce delays at the four airports considered in the redesign; including studying whether reducing overscheduling and the use of smaller aircraft by air carriers would have a greater effect on reducing delays than the redesign. In 2007, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who operate 3 of the major airports included in the redesign submitted a proposal to the FAA with many of these suggestions, but the FAA largely ignored it. This was a sensible amendment, but unfortunately it will not be considered today. Furthermore, an amendment offered by Congressman Joe Sestak, which would have stopped the redesign's implementation until the FAA conducted a cost-benefit analysis--something recommended by the GAO, mind you--will also not be considered today.

Mr. Chair, it is imperative that the FAA take seriously the concerns of those people on the ground who are affected by their actions. I urge a "no'' vote.


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