Bipartisan Support In New Jersey For U.S. House Bill To Modernize Outdated Air Traffic Control System

October 27, 2017 | COTF

Press Release

Bipartisan Group of Garden State Leaders Endorses Air Traffic Control Reforms That Will Benefit All New Jersey Fliers

Citizens for On Time Flights announced today that 17 members of the New Jersey State Legislature, nine mayors and ten business associations – including four chambers of commerce – have written letters to U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representatives Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) and Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) to declare their support for reforms to modernize the nation's outdated and inefficient air traffic control (ATC) system.

Elected officials from both sides of the aisle support a bipartisan proposal before Congress that would restructure the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and move oversight of ATC operations to a federally chartered, independent, non-profit organization that includes all aviation stakeholders. The FAA would continue to ensure the safety of all fliers.

The full list of supporters is as follows:

Sen. Anthony R. Bucco (R-25)
Sen. Richard Codey (D-27)
Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R-21)
Sen. Steve Oroho (R-24)
Sen. Joe Pennachio (R-26)
Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D-32)
Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-36)
Asm. Jon Bramnick (R-21)
Asm. Anthony M. Bucco (R-25)
Asm. Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25)
Asm. Betty Lou DeCroce (R-26)
Asm. Jamel Holley. (D-20)
Asm. Gordon Johnson (D-37)
Asm. Nancy Munoz (R-21)
Asm. Kevin Rooney (R-40)
Asm. David Russo (R-40)
Asm. Jay Webber (R-26)
Mayor Timothy Dougherty (D-Morristown)
Mayor Steven Fulop (D-Jersey City)
Mayor John Glidden (R-Closter)
Mayor James Kelly (D-Dumont)
Mayor Richard LaBarbiera (D-Paramus)
Mayor William Laforet (I-Mawah)
Mayor Louis Lamatina (D-Emerson)
Mayor Ed Piehler (D-Northvale)
Mayor Lester Taylor (D-East Orange)
African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey
Commerce & Industry Association of NJ 
Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce
Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce
Newark Regional Business Partnership
New Jersey Alliance for Action Inc.
New Jersey Aviation Association
New Jersey Business & Industry Association
New Jersey Chamber of Commerce 
Utility & Transportation Contractor Association of New Jersey

"Like so much of our nation's infrastructure, the technology underpinning the current system is woefully antiquated," wrote Senator Bucco and Assemblymen Bucco and Carroll. "While undeniably safe and secure, the stubborn inefficiency of the current system is a burden to every member of the flying public and the economy writ large."

The reforms outlined in the bipartisan 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act (AIRR) will expedite the implementation of the NextGen air traffic control modernization program. Upgrading America's current ATC system, which relies on WWII-era ground-based radar technology, to a satellite-based GPS system will reduce delays and shorten flight times. 

"The federal government's 15+ year modernization efforts have been plagued by significant cost overruns and delays, calling into question the ability of the Federal Aviation Administration, under the existing funding and governance structure, to deliver the results that travelers, operators, and the U.S. economy require," wrote Senator Pennachio and Assemblyman Rooney. "Simply put, our modernization efforts aren't working and need significant change."

"As an elected official with constituents that rely heavily on major airports such a Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia Airport; I routinely hear complaints about the delays and length of time some high volume routes take," wrote Senator Codey.

New Jersey air passengers are among the most impacted in the nation by inconvenient and costly traveler delays caused by our nation's antiquated air traffic control system. Nearly 68 percent of flight delays at Newark airport are attributable to the National Airspace System, which includes ATC operations – the highest percentage in the nation, according to US Department of Transportation data. New Jersey airports also rank 7th in the country for ATC-related arrival delays, which cost passengers an estimated $91 million in 2016.

"The New Jersey economy and its residents depend on our aviation industry for the safety and efficiency of both local regional airports and the larger international hubs in nearby cities," wrote NJ Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Tom Bracken. "Given the importance of travel and tourism to our State, ensuring that we have the best air traffic control system in the world should be a priority."

"There is now an opportunity to move forward and reform ATC into a system more ready to tackle the challenges of the future. I call on Congress to urgently seize this opportunity and support the creation of an independent, non-profit ATC entity that will provide the funding and governance stability necessary to effectively modernize our system for all users to the betterment of all communities and our economy as a whole," concluded Senator Sarlo in his letter to U.S. Senator Cory Booker.

The AIRR Act also has the support of NATCA, the largest union of air traffic controllers, ALPA, the 57,000-member pilots union, the 50,000-member Association of Flight Attendants, and all major U.S. passenger airlines.

ABOUT CITIZENS FOR ON TIME FLIGHTS

Citizens for On Time Flights is a grassroots program dedicated to promoting more efficient air travel and advocating for a modernized air traffic control system that will benefit American consumers and the traveling public.