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This editorial appeared in Sunday Record, August 24, 2003

No Heavier Jets Using Teterboro
By Anthony Coscia, Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

If the Federal Aviation Administration has its way, you might see heaver planes landing at Teterboro Airport on a regular basis. This would not be in the best interest of the region or the airport. Following the directive of Governor McGreevey, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey plans to keep fighting to prevent it from happening.

For more than 80 years, the Port Authority has been a proud partner in this region’s progress. This agency has always striven to work with our communities to build a top-notch transportation system, better opportunities, and a brighter future for the people who live, work and learn near the area’s airports, ports tunnels and bridges and PATH system.

Since 1949, the Port Authority has owned Teterboro Airport, which is one of the region’s most critical transportation facilities and a major economic engine in Bergen County. More than1,200 people work at the airport; it contributes more than $500 million annually to the region’s economy.

Teterboro Airport has been an important part of our economic progress and has helped make this region’s transportation network one of the finest in the world. Although we have faced a number of challenges to balance community concerns with airport operations, we have always shared the same goal – to make sure Teterboro effectively serves the needs of the region and that it continues to serve as a responsible neighbor to the surrounding communities.

In addition to its economic contribution, the airport is also a vital component for responding to emergencies in Bergen County. Medical flights are dependent upon the airport – transporting patients and organs for transplants. The airport is especially critical to Hackensack University Medical Center.

We are also proud to have been a strong supporter of many efforts to help improve the quality of life for the residents in and around Bergen, including investing tens of millions of dollars to soundproof nearby schools, instituting an aggressive noise-fighting program that bans any airplane it if receives three noise violations; and prohibiting airlines and operators from providing scheduled service, which maintains the airport as a general aviation facility.

One of the most important initiatives we have undertaken is implementing a restriction on aircraft weighing 100,000 pounds or more from utilizing the airport. This policy was enacted more than 30 years ago to make sure the airport is maintained in the public interest to help protect infrastructure at the airport and to ensure that Teterboro remains a general aviation "reliever" airport for the area’s other airports. This policy has served the airport and the nearby community well.

But now the Port Authority’s long-standing, effective policy is in jeopardy because the FAA is trying to force general aviation facilities across the country to allow takeoffs and landings of heavier aircraft. The Port Authority is doing everything we can to stop this from happening.

The FAA’s proposed plan is a bad policy that will have a negative impact on the operations of Teterboro. The runways are not designed to handle heavier planes, and forcing the airport to allow these jets to land there would decrease the life expectancy of the runways and negatively affect overall airport operations.

Last week, the Port Authority, along with more than 700 elected officials, community leaders and residents submitted to the FAA their strong statements of opposition to their plan. In addition, the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners recently passed a resolution restating its commitment to restricting the larger aircraft and directing the agency’s staff to explore every way possible to stop the FAA.

But our job is not done. We must be committed to doing whatever it takes to keep these heavier aircraft from landing here, and we will continue to fight aggressively. If we are going to be successful, it is going to take everyone’s hard work and commitment.

Anthony Coscia is chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.




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