[Teterboro Airport Index]
It all sounds so wonderful. The Port Authority wants to spend $92 million over the next few years to modernize Teterboro Airport including new taxiways, 22 acres of new pavement, a new administration building, and other improvements.
But look closer and you can see why Teterboros critics say the plan is nothing more than a prelude to an expansion of this already well-used airport. Indeed, its hard to imagine how an expansion of the airport could ever happen without some of these proposed "improvements."
Since a larger, busier, noisier Teterboro Airport is the last thing most residents of Bergen County want, the Port Authority should scrap the plans more troubling aspects at least until it adequately addresses the concerns of everyone who lives within window-rattling distance of the airport and its flight paths.
The immediate worry is the $44.8 million proposal to build new taxiways to move planes in and out of the airport faster. The Port Authority says this change will allow planes to speed less time taxiing and waiting to land and that means less congestion and less noise. But wouldnt moving planes in and out of the airport faster attract more planes and more noise?
The long-range fear is that the Federal Aviation Administration will cause Teterboro to grow by allowing Boeing 737 business jets to land there. The Port Authority says it is trying to prevent the big jets from landing at Teterboro, on grounds that the runways cant handle these huge jets. If the FAA sees things differently, the Port Authoritys plan to pave 22 acres at the south end of the airport could well pave the way for the big Boeings.
The Port Authority says that it could build new hangars or a fully equipped repair facility on the 22 acres. But if the Boeing business jets are allowed to land at Teterboro, wouldnt this be where theyd be parked?
At the very least, the Port Authority should hold off on this aspect of the plan until it is clear that the big Boeings wont be allowed to land at Teterboro. Otherwise, the Port Authority might as well be proposing a 22-acre welcome mat.
Some aspects of the Port Authoritys plan seem reasonable. The administration building, for example, is more than 50 years old. A new one makes sense. So does improving the fire fighting facilities. And the $2 million being spent to sound proof nearby schools is a no-brainer.
But much of the plan seems to pave the way for more and bigger planes at Teterboro, and thats unacceptable. Rep. Steve Rothman, D-Fair Lawn, says he opposes any expansion of the airport, but the only official with the clout to stop these plans will be New Jerseys next governor. By vetoing the minutes of any Port Authority meeting where this plan is approved, he can torpedo the proposal.
This year is a gubernatorial election year. Bergen is the states most populous county. Bergen residents are increasingly disgusted with Teterboro Airport. What do Democratic candidate Jim McGreevey and Republican contenders Bret Schundler and Bob Franks think of the Port Authoritys plan?
What will they do to make sure it never gets off the ground?