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Bush OK's Weight Limits At Teterboro

Port Authority Press Release, January 29, 2004

Port Authority Praises Congressional Leaders For Commitment To Protect Teterboro Airport Communities

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia praised the announcement today by New Jersey Congressman Steve Rothman regarding the enactment of federal legislation protecting the bistate agency’s longstanding policy restricting access to Teterboro Airport by larger aircraft.

Chairman Coscia said, "Under the direction of Governor McGreevey, tThe Port Authority has worked closely with Congressman Rothman to combine our efforts to oppose any attempts by the FAA to to lift the 100,000 pound weight restriction allow larger planes, like Boeing 737 Business Jets, to use at Teterboro Airport. .That is why the agency enacted a policy more than 30 years ago to restrict larger planes from using the airport. It is a priority for Governor McGreevey and his support has been crucial.

"We thank Congressman Rothman and Senators Corzine and Lautenberg for their leadership in securing this legislation – the first of its kind in the nation – that will protect the citizens of Bergen County and keep Teterboro Airport operating as a general aviation facility," Chairman Coscia said.

The Port Authority, working with federal, state and local officials, has aggressively pursued protecting Teterboro Airport from federal requirements to accept aircraft weighing more than 100,000 pounds, out of concerns about impacts on the surrounding community and the airport’s infrastructure.

Teterboro Airport plays a vital role in the Port Authority’s four-airport system. The region’s financial and medical services rely heavily on Teterboro Airport.

Teterboro Airport accommodates 80 percent of the general aviation flights into and out of the Port Authority’s airports. As a result, general aviation pilots do not have to use the Port Authority’s commercial airports. Teterboro Airport’s existence reduces flight congestion and delays for the 83 million passengers who fly on commercial aircraft at Kennedy, Newark and LaGuardia airports in a typical year.

Teterboro Airport is a major economic engine in Bergen County. More than 1,200 men and women work at Teterboro Airport; 94 percent of them live within 15 miles of the airport. The airport’s operations contribute $500 million to the region’s annual economy.

The Port Authority has instituted several policies to minimize impacts of the airport’s operations on surrounding community, including:

A 100,000-pound weight limit on all aircraft that fly into and out of Teterboro Airport. The Port Authority has successfully defended this limit against challenges from the aviation industry.

A ban on scheduled service at the airport.

A ban on all Stage 1 general aviation aircraft – the oldest, noisiest and most polluting planes.

Longtime support of Congressman Steve Rothman’s legislation that would ban Stage 2 aircraft at Teterboro.

A voluntary curfew on overnight flights into and out of Teterboro.

A "three strikes" rule. The Port Authority has posted noise-monitoring equipment in towns surrounding the airport. If an aircraft receives three noise violations, it is banned from Teterboro Airport for life.

Investing $92.4 million to make Teterboro Airport more efficient. This investment includes $44.9 million to improve the airport’s taxiways, which will create shorter taxi routes for aircraft. This will reduce taxi and queue times for planes, cutting noise and pollution.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit rail system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.

Congressman Steve Rothman  Press Release, January 29, 2004

It's Official: No Big Jets At Teterboro
Rothman's Legislation to Uphold Aircraft
Weight Limit at Teterboro Airport Becomes Law

Approved With Key Support From Senators Lautenberg & Corzine

Teterboro, NJ - In a major victory for improving the quality of life for the people of Northern New Jersey, Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ9) today announced that his provision to stop the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from overturning the 100,000 pound aircraft weight limit at Teterboro Airport, thus preventing the 737 Boeing Business Jet from operating there, has become law. In July 2003, when the FAA announced its rule change proposal to lift the weight limit, Rothman immediately crafted legislation in the House to stop it. The House passed Rothman's provision, which was included in the final spending bill for Fiscal Year 2004, on December 8. U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Jon Corzine (D-NJ) got the Rothman-authored provision passed in the Senate on January 22, 2004 as part of the same bill already approved in the House and President Bush signed it into law the next day. Rothman's measure is the first piece of legislation on any level - federal, state, or local - that protects the 37 year-old weight limit at Teterboro.

     "With the enactment of my legislation, we have banned the 737 Boeing Business Jet from Teterboro Airport and sent a strong message to those who seek to destroy our quality of life: 'We don't want your jumbo jets in our backyards and we never will,'" Rothman said. "The threat of Teterboro becoming the area's fourth major airport that would attract huge jets and would destroy the quality of life of area residents is now gone. The FAA and the Boeing Company thought they could bully the people of Northern New Jersey and force us to accept 737's flying in and out of our neighborhoods. The United States Congress and the President are now on record agreeing that the weight limit at Teterboro Airport must be upheld to ensure that these jets will not be skimming the rooftops of our homes and businesses."

     At the beginning of July 2003, the FAA announced its intention to overturn the weight limit at Teterboro Airport to allow larger jets to operate at the Northern New Jersey facility. The move came following requests to the FAA from the Boeing Company, which wants its 737 Boeing Business Jet to be able to use Teterboro Airport. As a lifelong resident of Bergen County who is committed to fighting aircraft noise and stopping the expansion of Teterboro Airport, Rothman vehemently opposed the proposal and wrote this legislation to stop the FAA from going forward with its plan.

     "Big jets that weigh over 100,000 pounds do not belong at Teterboro Airport, a general aviation reliever airport," said Senator Lautenberg. "This legislation will preserve the facilities of Teterboro, and more importantly protect surrounding communities and their quality of life."

     Senator Corzine said, "Keeping the 100,000 - pound weight limitation in place at Teterboro is the right thing to do for our region. The big jets don't belong there. Newark Liberty International Airport handles those jets, and it's only 12 miles away."

     "I am very grateful that New Jersey has two great U.S. Senators in Frank Lautenberg and Jon Corzine who were able to use their positions to get the Senate to bar the 737 Boeing Business Jet from Teterboro," Rothman added. "They have been outstanding partners in our fight to enhance the quality of life for area residents."

     Since Rothman's provision is part of an annual appropriations bill, the measure will have to be renewed each year, a process made much easier now that there is a precedent in place. While he expressed strong confidence that he would have his measure renewed each year, Rothman also vowed to explore other legislative means that would keep his provision in place without having to go through an annual process.

     This is the second major victory regarding Teterboro Airport that Rothman has secured in the last two months. Last month, Rothman announced that his measure to permanently ban scheduled charter service at Teterboro Airport had been signed into law by President Bush. Rothman credited U.S. Senators Lautenberg and Corzine (D-NJ) with helping to ensure Senate approval of that provision as well.


Star-Ledger, Friday, January 30, 2004

Teterboro neighbors keep big jets out


Residents of southern Bergen County have scored another victory in their ongoing battle to limit operations at Teterboro Airport.

A provision in a spending bill signed by President Bush last week maintains a 100,000-pound limit on aircraft using Teterboro, essentially barring the 171,000-pound Boeing 737 Business Jet from operating there.

U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-9th Dist.), who has been a vocal critic of increased operations at the airport, lobbied for the provision after learning that Boeing had a proposal to begin flying its business jets into Teterboro.

Rothman said the provision sends a strong message to Boeing.

"We don't want your jumbo jets in our back yards and we never will," he said. "The threat to Teterboro becoming the area's fourth major airport that would attract huge jets and destroy the quality of life for area residents is now gone."

Rothman acknowledged, however, that the provision to maintain the 100,000-pound weight limit -- tucked into the Federal Aviation Administration's appropriations bill -- must be renewed annually. He said he is confident he can get it passed in future years.

Citing noise and health concerns, residents of several towns surrounding the airport -- including Bogota, Carlstadt, Little Ferry, Hackensack, Rutherford, Hasbrouck Heights and Wood-Ridge -- have been fighting to keep the larger jets out of Teterboro.

More than 100,000 people live within 2 miles of the airport, where 500 planes -- mostly corporate jets -- take off and land each day. Additionally, hundreds of others from Newark Liberty, John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia international airports crisscross southern Bergen County each day.

In August 2003, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates Teterboro, approved a resolution opposing a federal effort to allow large jets to land at the airport. The bistate agency has restricted aircraft weighing more than 100,000 pounds for 30 years.

Sandy Angers, a spokeswoman for Boeing, said the company was "disappointed" at the latest effort to block the business jets from Teterboro.

"We believe the action undermines FAA authority to regulate and control the United States transportation system," Angers said.

Teterboro would be a convenient destination for corporations and individuals who use the $40 million Boeing business jets, allowing them to bypass the far more crowded international airports. There are 69 Boeing Business Jets in service worldwide.

But residents who live near Teterboro are adamant about keeping the bigger planes away.

"Unlike the other airports, Teterboro is surrounded by residential neighborhoods," said Nadine Thompson of Wood-Ridge, who has publicly protested airport expansions. "This is a health and safety issue. Those engines are big. We don't want bigger ones."


The Record, Friday, January 30, 2004

Bush signs ban of Boeing 737s at Teterboro

Big planes, such as the Boeing 737, won't be flying low over North Jersey homes anytime soon.

Legislation signed into law by President Bush has effectively banned planes weighing more than 100,000 pounds from using Teterboro Airport - at least for now.

"It's a great victory for the people of the area," said Wood-Ridge resident Nadine Thompson, a community activist who fought for the ban. "A potentially dangerous and definitely quality-of-life threatening situation has been stopped."

For years, The Boeing Co. has sought to get its Business Jet, a 737 aircraft converted for personal use, into Teterboro Airport. But Teterboro, which private pilots prize because of its proximity to New York City, has long barred planes weighing more than 100,000 pounds from using its runways.

The Boeing Business Jet can weigh up to 170,000 pounds, depending on how it is configured and the amount of fuel it is carrying.

"This airport is not built for that size aircraft," said Teterboro Airport Manager Lanny Rider. "You will immediately deteriorate the runways and taxiways."

In 2002, the Federal Aviation Administration's Eastern Region preliminarily upheld Teterboro's ban.

Boeing challenged the ruling, and in July 2003 the FAA proposed a policy that would force airport operators nationwide to accept jets of all sizes.

The proposal, which is still under FAA review, prompted Rep. Steve Rothman, D-Fair Lawn, to insert a clause into the federal transportation spending bill exempting Teterboro from the FAA policy.

The one-sentence section prohibits the FAA from using money "to change weight restrictions or prior permission rules at Teterboro Airport." Bush approved the measure in the massive spending bill last Friday.

"On the merits, what the FAA was trying to do at Teterboro Airport was wrong," Rothman said at a news conference Thursday in Teterboro.

Boeing officials said Thursday that they would not challenge the law.

"Obviously we are disappointed that the clause in the transportation spending bill passed," said Boeing spokeswoman Sandy Angers. "But we believe the action actually undermines the FAA's authority to regulate and control the air transportation system."

Boeing has fought for access to Teterboro because it believes it would help increase sales of its $50 million Business Jet and provide a convenience for people who already own one. Nearly 70 were in service as of October 2003.

FAA officials were reserved in their comment about the new law, but noted that it has a Sept. 30 expiration date.

"The language in the bill does not permit us to use the funds for one year," said FAA Eastern Region spokesman Jim Peters. "It's only a one-year authorization."

Rothman acknowledged the limit, but said the clause will be included in future appropriations legislation.

"I feel very confident it will be passed again next year," he said. "Now we have the luxury of looking for more permanent solutions."

One solution being pursued by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates Teterboro, is to get an exemption from the FAA, Rider said. Port Authority officials have traveled to Washington, D.C., in recent months to meet with the FAA and make their case for a permanent exemption.

Essentially, the agency is arguing that the Boeing Business Jet - and other large planes - can just as easily land at one of the Port Authority's other three regional airports, Newark Liberty International, Kennedy International, and LaGuardia.

The FAA's stance is intended to curtail what it sees as discriminatory policies at federally funded airports, such as Teterboro. Airports that accept federal grants must also accept all comers. Teterboro accepted $8.7 million in federal funds last year.

The policy fight is not only being waged in New Jersey, but at airports in Naples, Fla., and Santa Monica, Calif.

If large jets were allowed to land at Teterboro, residents would get an up-close look at their underbellies as they pass just hundreds of feet from their homes on takeoff and landing.

Although towns that surround Teterboro would get an intimate peek, the larger planes would be visible farther north in Bergen County as they approach Teterboro Such sightings are now uncommon north of Route 4.

"It's just a ridiculous thought to bring a plane that size into a densely populated residential area," said Thompson of Wood-Ridge. "They have no place to ditch, if God forbid, they have to."


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