SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOC
AIR TRAFFIC CONGESTION AT LAGUARDIA AIRPORT
TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
JULY 16, 2001 (WORLD TRADE CENTER, NEW YORK, NY)
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin, Vice-Chair
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
STEPHEN HORN, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN L. MICA, Florida
JACK QUINN, New York
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
SUE W. KELLY, New York
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
ROBERT W. NEY, Ohio
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Idaho
JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
MIKE ROGERS, Michigan
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia
MARK STEVEN KIRK, Illinois
HENRY E, BROWN, Jr., South Carolina
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
BRIAN D. KERNS, Indiana
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana
TODD RUSSELL PLATTS, Pennsylvania
MIKE FERGUSON, New Jersey
SAM GRAVES, Missouri
C.L. (BUTCH) OTTER, Idaho
MARK R. KENNEDY, Minnesota
JOHN ABNEY CULBERSON, Texas
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
JOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
BOB FILNER, California
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCGENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
JUANITA MILLENDER-McDONALD, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
MAX SANDLIN, Texas
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
BILL PASCRELL, JR., New Jersey
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
JAMES P. McGOVERN, Massachusetts
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
BRAD CARSON, Oklahoma
JIM MATHESON, Utah
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
SUBCOMMITTEE ON AVIATION
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
JOHN L. MICA, Florida, Chairman
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
STEPHEN HORN, California
JACK QUINN, New York
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
SUE W. KELLY, New York
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana, Vice Chairman
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Idaho
JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
MARK STEVEN KIRK, Illinois
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
DENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana
SAM GRAVES, Missouri
MARK R. KENNEDY, Minnesota
JOHN ABNEY CULBERSON, Texas
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
DON YOUNG, Alaska
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JUANITA MILLENDER-McDONALD, California
MAX SANDLIN, Texas
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
BILL PASCRELL, JR., New Jersey
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
BRAD CARSON, Oklahoma
JIM MATHESON, Utah
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
Crowley, Hon. Joseph, a Representative in Congress from New York
DeCota, William R., Director of Aviation, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Fossella, Hon. Vito, a Representative in Congress from New York
Garvey, Honorable Jane F., Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration
Hazel, Robert, Vice President, U.S. Airways
Magnani, Peter, Deputy Borough President, Borough of Queens, on behalf of Honorable Claire Shulman, President, Borough of Queens
Maloney, Hon. Carolyn B., a Representative in Congress from New York
Olcott, John W., President, National Business Aviation Association
Rothman, Hon. Steven R., a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Weiner, Hon. Anthony D., a Representative in Congress from New York
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Maloney, Hon. Carolyn B., of New York
Meeks, Hon. Gregory W., of New York
Pascrell, Hon. Bill, Jr., of New Jersey
Sweeney, Hon. John E., of New York
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
DeCota, William R., Director of Aviation, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Garvey, Hon. Jane F., Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration
Nagin, Lawrence M. (submitted by Robert Hazel)
Olcott, John W
Shulman, Claire (submitted by Peter Magnani)
SUBMISSION FOR THE RECORD
Olcott, John W., President, National Business Aviation Association, New York City Area Airports Operational Activity Fact Sheet
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
ADDITIONS TO THE RECORD
Bureau of Transportation Statistics 2000 Airport Fact Sheet, John F. Kennedy International and Newark International Airports
Letter to Rep. Mica from Members concerning the increase in flights at LaGuardia Airport, June 11, 2001
Letter to Rep. Mica from Members concerning their opposition to rerouting air traffic from LaGuardia Airport to Teterboro Airport and supporting Stewart Airport as an alternative, July 27, 2001
Letter to Rep. Mica from Rep. Fossella, July 19, 2001, and chart, Delay Benefits of Proposed Headings
Aviation Technology Solutions, Joseph M. Del Balzo, letter, July 10, 2001
Kanya, Alberta, Flushing, NY, letter
Summary of Chokepoint/National Airspace Redesign
Choke Point Action Review
AIR TRAFFIC CONGESTION AT LaGUARDIA AIRPORT
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Monday, July 16, 2001
House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Aviation, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Washington, D.C.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:30 a.m., at the World Trade Center, Oval Room, New York, New York, Hon. John L. Mica [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.
Mr. MICA. If I could have your attention, please, I would like to go ahead and call this hearing of the Aviation Subcomittee of the U.S. House of Representatives to order.
I'm John Mica, Chairman of the subcommitee, a member from Florida, pleased to be joined by a number of our members of the Transportation Committee and our subcommittee today.
We have Honorable Sue Kelly from New York, who is with us, Frank LoBiondo from New Jersey, Mr. Doolittle is joining us. He's a member of the Appropriations Subcomittee. Mr. John Doolittle is a member from California.
We have Bill Pascrell from New Jersey, and we have Honorable Bob Clement from Tennessee, and Jerry Nadler from New York.
Again, pleased to have members joining us and counsel from the minority and majority joining us here today.
The order of business this morning is we have three panels of witnesses. The first panel this morning consists of members of Congress, who are going to present their particular viewpoints on some of the congestion problems and other challenges we face in the Metropolitan New York area and air service here.
The second panel, we have the administrator of the FAA and Director of Aviation of the Port Authority. I think we're going to be joined by Neil Levin.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Is Neil here? He was here? He stepped outside.
I want to thank him and everyone with the Port Authority for accommodating the visit of the subcommittee to New York the past two days.
We have had an opportunity to visit JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Airport, and we do appreciate their accommodation of our meeting with local officials in visiting those sites.
The final panel, we will hear from consists of representatives of one of the airlines concerned and the National Business Aviation Association.
We have a fully packed agenda today so I'm going to ask if any members or witnesses have lengthy statements they would like to be made part of the record, their statements or additional information will be entered in the record.
The next order of business will be opening statements and I will provide some opening comments here, then I will yield to other members of our panel for their comments, and then we will start to hear from some of the members from this area who are serving as witnesses before this subcommittee today.
Last week, I think a lot of us saw when President Bush visited New York City, he remarked that New York City is the capital of the world. And I believe that if New York City is to continue to bear that title in the future, this area, and this city in particular, must have the best air service to maintain that position.
Unfortunately, however, the three New York City airports, LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark, have accounted for 25 percent of all of the airline delays nationwide.
Last year, at one point I think the statistics shot to almost 40 percent of the delays, caused by capacity and other problems here in the Metropolitan New York area.
Last year, LaGuardia and Newark lagged behind the rest of the country, posting the worst on-time performance of any United States airports. JFK was not much better, and it ranked the seventh worst in the number of delays.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are, however, some minor infrastructure and air traffic control improvements in the works that may alleviate some of the congestion, but with no new runway construction planned in this area, delays at all three of these airports I'm afraid will continue to worsen over the next ten years.
Not only that, we heard in our visits that they're anticipating an increase of close to 40 million passengers in this area over that same decade.
I am told that building runways, additional runways at LaGuardia or Newark or JFK, is almost impossible. Each of these airports is very unique, and we saw this firsthand, that they're landlocked and that we have difficult airspace issues and serious noise problems at all of these locations.
In reality, however, the problems that each of these airports face are similar. Unfortunately, we also are faced with a ''not in my backyard,'' or the NIMBY attitude here, and it's not unique to the Metropolitan New York area. We face this across the country.
This attitude prevents us from building the much-needed infrastructure that will keep our country running and this area growing.
We all want to live, of course, a modern convenient lifestyle, but unfortunately no one is willing to bear any of the burdens of progress. Whether it's runways or power plants or refineries, without adequate infrastructure as a nation, and also this area as a region, cannot continue to grow and prosper.
As a region, this area will unfortunately dampen its economic future potential if its air service infrastructure fails to improve and expand.
New runways may be the answer to the problem of congestion and delays, but they, again, unfortunately take time and have huge obstacles to overcome.
Often the process for constructing a new runway, we have seen nationally, drags on for 15 years or more.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Even if local authorities here decided today to build a new runway, it's possible that New York would not gain any benefits from a new runway until the year 2015.
This subcommittee is engaged in an effort to reduce the time it takes to build new runways, and we recently approved H.R. 1407 to grant the airlines limited antitrust immunity to discuss scheduling for the sole purpose of reducing delays.
These measures will help some, but they are difficult legislative items to enact.
However, much more must be done immediately to reduce delays and ensure the safety of the flying public.
Last year, the FAA reinstituted flight caps at LaGuardia as a temporary measure to address record delays caused by severe overscheduling.
Last month, the FAA published a notice which solicited comments on possible permanent solutions to the problem.
All available options fall into either one of two categories: First is administrative action, such as flight caps, or possibly a market-based approach. As a second solution, some form of congestion pricing.
There is a month left in the open comment period, and the FAA hopes to reach a decision before the end of the year.
The simple reality is that we cannot allow airlines to continue to schedule more flights than an airport can handle.
In the next ten years, congestion at eight of the ten top-most congested airports will continue to worsen.
Personally, I don't favor congestion pricing. I am concerned it creates more problems than it solves by raising fares and cutting off access potentially for small communities, but I am willing to listen to other ideas.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Whatever solution we choose, access for small communities and low fare carriers, must be protected and preserved.
The federal government, however, cannot solve the problem of congestion and the challenges we face here in Metropolitan New York area by itself. We need the cooperation of state, local and federal officials, as well as the communities, officials and citizens of areas near our major airports.
Whatever solution we determine is good for LaGuardia, I want to say today, I believe should be applied to other congested airports across the nation.
What's good enough for New York is good enough for the rest of the country.
During the past two days we have had an opportunity to visit LaGuardia, JFK and Newark airports. We have met with local airport officials, and we have met with various representatives of the Authority.
We have reviewed and conducted site visits to current and future infrastructure projects, and I want to say that some of those are very impressive. I think they are also well-prioritized, and I think that they have the potential to help us face some of these challenges in the near term and the future.
I salute some of the local officials who have initiated those projects. Particularly, we saw the air train JFK project, which should be completed in the near future, and also toured the Newark Monorail intermodal facility with Amtrak and New Jersey Transit and looked at the new facilities that are under construction at several of the major airports.
The area is doing a great deal to address some of these problems and we salute them.
In this hearing, we hope to gain a better understanding of the situation here, discuss some of the options for the future, hear from the key players in this whole process, and I want to thank all of the witnesses again for appearing today.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And let me recognize, let me see here, Mr. Clement, you are a ranking Democrat. Would you like to proceed with an opening statement?
Mr. CLEMENT. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will keep my remarks very brief. I am looking forward to hearing my colleagues, as well as all those that are testifying today.
I represent Nashville, Tennessee, Music City, USA, so we do feel like we have a connection to the New York area in a lot of different ways.
I think this hearing is very, very important. Because I think all of us know about anxieties in life, we know about time delays, we know that we need an adequate infrastructure in order to satisfy the demands that are placed on all of us when it comes to the general public.
We want everyone to have the opportunity to help us solve these problems. They're tough problems, and they are controversial problems, too.
Some of us are going to just have to step up to the line, whether it means more investment, or commitments that we would rather not make, but we have to make in order to move forward in the 21st Century.
It's been a pleasure the last several days to meet with the airport officials, and the Port Authority officials, because our visits, prior to this congressional hearing today, has been most helpful in order to better understand what you are facing, so all of us, whether we represent the New York/New Jersey area or not, can be beneficial to you to help solve and alleviate these air traffic congestion problems that we are facing today.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MICA. Let me recognize the gentlelady from New York, Ms. Kelly.
Mrs. KELLY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our congested aviation system is a national problem that affects traveling Americans across the country. There is no other region in the country that is more aware of the problem or more affected by it than the New York City area, so I want to thank Chairman Mica for coming up here to take an in-depth look at our circumstances, not only for holding the hearing today, but for spending the last several days looking at the facilities at New York, LaGuardia, Teterboro and JFK. It's clear that we need to do more to relieve aviation congestion.
Air travel is the fastest growing mode of transportation in the United States. Last year, there were over 680 million commercial air travelers. In ten years, that number is likely to exceed one billion.
We have been exploring ways in which the aviation system can be improved. Increasing airport capacity and improving the aging air traffic control system are critical factors in our efforts towards a long-term solution.
Another factor that I have pushed and will continue to push is the use of the regional, underutilized airports that can provide immediate relief to New York City area congestion.
Stewart International Airport is a facility that I believe presents a viable alternative to our overburdened, congested airports in the city. It has the runways in place. It has in-place infrastructure to begin doing that today.
It's 50 percent underutilized and can accommodate over half a million passengers immediately.
While it won't cure all of our congestion problems, Stewart has the capacity to relieve the pressure on our local airports here in New York City immediately.
Given the magnitude of the problem in our aviation system, we have to look closely at all possible avenues of relief, and it's essential, I believe, that we take a look, a closer look, at the role that underutilized airports can play, along with all of the other things that we are looking at, to try to relieve the airport congestion at LaGuardia, New York, and JFK.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding the hearing today.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentlelady and let me go, continuing, I believe, in seniority, to the gentleman from New York Mr. Nadler.
Mr. NADLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to thank the committee for holding this field hearing today regarding air traffic congestion in the New York City area.
We are all pleased, of course, that so many people want to travel to our great city, and I hope they continue to do so, but the desire to travel through the New York Metropolitan area, which is densely populated and served by three major airports, is also in a very complex airspace.
This situation poses serious challenges for those who use and regulate the nation's airspace.
We must balance the need to operate airports in a safe and efficient manner with the desire to improve access for new carriers and underserved markets, and we must take into consideration the needs of the surrounding communities.
Nowhere is the problem more apparent than at LaGuardia. Located on only 660 acres with only two intersecting runways, the airport has a limited capacity and virtually no room to expand.
Since LaGuardia is closer to Manhattan than the region's other major airports, the demand at LaGuardia remains high despite severe congestions and delays.
Since the slot lottery was instituted on January 31st, the situation at LaGuardia has improved, but a long-term strategy must be developed that protects the newer service to smaller markets and new carriers and takes into consideration the impact of airport operations on surrounding residents.
I hope the FAA can provide some assurances in this regard today, and I look forward to your exploring some of the options outlined by the FAA in their proposed demand management plan, but the demand management plan for LaGuardia is only part of the solution.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We must also address airspace redesign if we are to reduce congestion at all the airports serving the New York City area and reduce noise pollution for local residents.
Among the chief objections to the current conditions in the airspace above local communities is the frequent and superfluous occurrence of low level flights by aircraft of various sizes and at various hours of the day and night.
For some residents, the noise has become untenable and is exacerbated in certain areas because of the configuration of buildings in this environment.
In addition, because of the frequency of flights, New York City, which is already designated by the EPA as a non-attainment area, is being subjected to considerably more air pollution because of the jet fuel.
Airspace redesign could allow airplanes to reach higher altitudes faster and routes could be structured to minimize the impact of noise and pollution on local communities.
The environmental interests of residents must be adequately addressed in this process. The impact of noise in the population is considerable and the contribution of aircraft to the overall problem is enormous.
Overhead jet noise interferes with people's quality of life and their ability to perform daily activities. It hampers children's ability to learn and adults' ability to work.
It disturbs everyone's right to peaceful enjoyment of their homes. It is disruptive to mental and physical health.
In promulgating regulations, the FAA must be more sensitive to the concerns of affected communities by mandating use of quieter, more efficient engines and must disapprove airport-operator proposed flight paths that do not adhere to standards of noise control.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would also like to add that New York City airspace is congested not only by airplanes but also by helicopters. I hear continually from my constituents that they are plagued by incessant, disruptive, low-flying helicopters flying over their apartment buildings at all times of the day and night.
Indeed, there have been accidents in this area and the lack of FAA regulation of these helicopters is a matter of great concern.
We were successful in getting a study of the impact of helicopter noise included in AIR-21, the results of which are overdue.
Regrettably, I understand the study was done, not according to the instructions and did not pay sufficient attention to the impact of noise on people.
I am happy that we have Administrator Garvey participating in this hearing today and I have hope that she will comment on FAA efforts regarding helicopter traffic in the city as well.
I also want to mention that I personally think that one of the solutions to the congestion problem is to tell the private airplanes to get out of LaGuardia, go use Teterboro.
General aviation has noand other airports, but general aviation, where one or two people or three people are on a flight should not take up the slots that 200 or 300 people can use on the same slot at LaGuardia.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding these field hearings that we can more closely examine all the issues relating to air congestion in the New York city area. I look forward to working with all interested parties to address these issues in the future.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman.
Let me yield now to the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. LoBiondo.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing and for your leadership in the very important area.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MICA. And another gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Pascrell, is recognized.
Mr. PASCRELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Jerry just set off the first bait, I guess, sending planes over to Teterboro Airport, and I hope that doesn't set a precedent for New York's problems coming to New Jersey, although we have solved many of your other problems.
I think, Mr. Chairmanfirst of all, thank you for putting us together. I guess I am serving as the ranking member today of the subcommittee.
I just think that it's critical, it's very, very important that whatever solutions we come to, and when we are dealing with congestion, not only at the airports but getting to and from the airports, that is a critical part of our job, because we want to get folks off the roads, and we can contribute to that.
We are in New Jersey, and we are doing that to some degree in New York, I think, in a very satisfactory fashion. In fact, we are on schedule in that particular area.
What I mean by everyone at the table, Mr. Chairman, is that we need the unions, we need the owners and operators as well of the airports, and the airlines, the FAA, And I was shocked in 1997 when we brought all of those folks together in New Jersey, it was the first time they ever sat together.
How in God's name can you solve such strategic, critical problems without everybody being at the table that participates, participates day in and day out?
We know we have had a long-standing problem with the air traffic controllers since 1981, and we know that there are not only certain amount of air traffic controllers needed at every airport, they must be trained and certified.
Many of them are not to that point yet. Many of them will be retiring between now and October 1st.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, if our primary category, criteria and emphasis is safety, we need to take a look at not only equipment but personnel. Personnel.
I think that is a needed review. Monthly review, Mr. Chairman, in every airport in the United States, particularly in the Metropolitan area.
I must salute the Administrator. She has kept to her word that she would start the redesign of the air traffic system in the Metropolitan area.
You have kept your word to that, and I think that is very, very important.
This is the most congested part of the United States, and we need to understand that this triangle of LaGuardia, Newark and Kennedy, and everything in-between and just beyond, is something that we need to take a very, very close look at. A real gestalt, a real universal umbrella before we start mandating this system.
One of those problems is in the area of noise, and we need to address that. We are not going to resolve the problem of noise unless we understand that there is a redesign of the entire system going on.
We should not short-stop that redesign and we shouldn't short-circuit it as well.
We hope that the very critical aspect of noise, and I think you are going to hear that from some of our panelists, our distinguished brothers and sisters in Congress, is not going to be mandated.
We are not going to short-circuit it. We're not going to demagogue it. We're not going to tell folks that are interested out there in abating noise that we're going to take your noise and put it in someone else's backyard.
That does not solve the problem in any manner, shape or form.
In fact, Mr. Chairman, in redesigning the system, we have allocated $8 million. There is no question in my mind after looking at the data we need $12 million. We need to come up with another $4 million.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There can be no excuse by the FAA that they are not going to stay on schedule. If we redesign the system, it will not go into effect until 2005 or 2006. That's if the EIS, the Environmental Impact Statement, is kept up-to-date.
So my second recommendation is that we make sure that there is a calendar that Congress sees as to where you plan to be over the next six months in redesigning the air traffic system in the United States beginning in the Metropolitan area.
Thirdly, we know that Newark Airport, nine out of the last ten years has had a horrific record in terms of delays.
This year, we were only surpassed by LaGuardia, but I don't think there are too many kudos with the silver medal.
I think we need to address it. We cannot put any more runways at Newark Airport unless we decide to go down the Turnpike, and in New Jersey you will subject yourself to a toll, of course.
We toll everything. We toll everything in New Jersey.
Now, there is a 7,000-foot runway at Newark Airport that is absolutely underutilized.
LaGuardia Airport's runways are 7,000 feet. We underutilize this. This is a case of the cart pulling the horse, and we need to take a look at that 7,000-foot runway. Although it doesn't run in the same direction as the two major runways, one of which we have just lengthened, we need to take a look that.
I am sure that is part of the solution to what our distinguished panelists will talk about.
I want to also, Mr. Chairman, in conclusion introduce testimonyhe could not be here today, Congressman Greg Meeks. He's represented by Michael McKay from his office, and he has some very important information about the ATC system, which I referred to in the antitrust immunity which we have dealt with.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want to enter that into the record.
Mr. MICA. Without objection, Mr. Meeks' entire statement will be made part of the record.
I thank the gentleman for his statement.
Although not a member of our subcommittee, and our subcommittee and committee is an authorizing committee of Congress, we are pleased to have had with us the last two days a member of the Appropriations Committee.
As we all know, appropriators deal with funding these programs.
I am pleased to yield by unanimous consent to the gentleman from California, Mr. Doolittle, a member of the Appropriations Committee for a statement.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have found the Committee's visits to the airports in question very illuminating, and I look forward to the testimony of the witnesses this morning.
I thank you for inviting me to join you.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman for being with us, and I'm pleased with the response we have had, both from members of the Transportation Committee, but also from those who represent this area that are not members of the Committee.
Our first panel today consists of some of those members who have requested to testify this morning.
I'm pleased, and we'll try to do this in seniority, order of seniority.
I would like to recognize first the gentlelady from New York, Ms. Maloney.
Welcome, and you are recognized.
TESTIMONY OF THE HON. CAROLYN B. MALONEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEW YORK
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. MALONEY. Good morning, Chairman Mica, and Ranking Member Pascrell and all the members of the Subcommitee.
I particularly welcome the two representatives from the great state of New York, Susan Kelly and Jerry Nadler, and a very special welcome to those of you who traveled long distances, Mr. Doolittle and Mr. Clement.
Really, Mr. Chairman, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you on behalf of my constituents for bringing this important hearing, for coming and looking at the air traffic congestion in our area.
You can see, we have tremendous challenges in New York and New Jersey, as Mr. LoBiondo knows.
At the end of last year when I testified before this Subcommittee in Washington, I said that the situation at LaGuardia Airport had reached crisis levels.
Well, immediate problems have subsided somewhat from last September, when 25 percent of all delays in the country were at LaGuardia, and the situation remains critical today and in the long term.
With the crisis of last year fresh in our memories, it is appropriate to reflect on what last September taught us.
One thing we learned is that the airlines will not make rationale scheduling decisions if limitations on the LaGuardia operations are relaxed at all.
Left to schedule additional, smaller new carriers, the airlines immediately requested 600 slot exemptions and began operation of 300 new flights.
We also learned that no matter how bad delays get, the airlines will still all want to offer service during rush hours.
Despite delays of up to six hours, and I believe every person who has traveled out of LaGuardia has had this experience, the airlines continue to schedule rush hour flights.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The resulting situation last year was an unmanageable safety hazard that greatly worsened the amount of noise that the community has to endure, a situation I believe was best characterized by a December 5th headline in the L.A. Times which stated, and I quote, ''Welcome to LaGuardia. Enjoy your stay.''.
The airlines can schedule as many flights as they want, but we know that this tiny airport, bordered by water and with intersecting runways cannot handle so much traffic.
While the slot lottery has supplied some limited relief, today the airport remains severely overloaded. Even when weather conditions are perfect, delays continue to cause ripples across the country as planes stack up coming in and out of New York and as travelers miss connections around the nation.
While LaGuardia has always been busy, the current situation has branded LaGuardia as a travel nightmare across the country. The situation is bad for the New York business, for tourism, the community, the airlinesit's bad for everyone.
In the long term, we all want air travel in and out of New York to be available in a safe and reliable manner. I believe that experience has shown us that long-term solutions demand that flights shift to other regional airports.
In the short term, I think it is clear that limits must remain on the number of flights that can be scheduled at LaGuardia. The airlines themselves seem incapable of making rational scheduling decisions for the surrounding community.
Curfews must be enforced to protect the quality of life of those who live in the flight paths.
Mr. Chairman and Subcommittee members, the future of LaGuardia and New York's airports is one of the major long-term infrastructure problems facing the region.
I thank you tremendously for your time and interest.
Finally, while you are in New York, I do want to call your attention to one other critically important intrastructure challenge facing the region.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I do want to be associated with the comments of my colleague, Mr. Nadler, on the heliports, and to mention that another challenge to LaGuardia is the travel to it and from it from Queens and from Manhattan.
Manhattan has the most overcrowded subway in the nation. The Lexington Avenue line, thanks to your efforts, Mr. Mica and others, appropriators and authorizers have added additional monies for the East Side connector and the Second Avenue subway, but the East Side connector will bring 50,000 new riders into the already most overloaded subway in the nation.
I ask you to also look at that during your travels here and your deliberations next year in the authorizing and appropriations process.
Again, I want to thank you on behalf of my many constituents who appreciate very much your attention, your focus for being here today, and being part, we hope, of a solution to the overcrowded airlines here in the area.
Thank you very much.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentlelady, and I'm pleased to recognize at this point a gentleman from New York, Mr. Fossella, and I am pleased to recognize you.
TESTIMONY OF THE HON. VITO FOSSELLA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. FOSSELLA. Thank you, Chairman Mica, and welcome here today, and my colleagues in Congress.
Mr. Pascrell said that New Jersey solved all of New York's problems. I always thought it was Staten Island that solved New York's problems.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I commend you, Mr. Chairman, for coming today. I think this is a reflection of your desire to see a positive change in this region.
We have heard all of you talk about the congestion and delays, and it reminds me of my grandmother's saying, it's like ten pounds of sausage in a five-pound bag.
That is sort of what we have here.
We should see it as an opportunity and a challenge and, yes, it's a problem. Lord knows anybody who travels in and out of our region's airports sitting on a runway for 45 minutes to over an hour, something needs to be done.
If we don't, our economy will suffer, almost 100 million people that fly in and out of our region's airports will suffer, and I am sorry to say unless something is done, the expression, ''It will get worse before it gets better,'' comes to mind.
We should see these airports as really an economic engine for the City of New York and the surrounding Metropolitan area.
I would venture to guess that almost a half a billion people are directly or indirectly related to the economic activity of our region's airports.
That is a positive thing.
As you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, being the capital of the world, we should still build on the success and encourage people to come.
So I think there is a lot that has been done, a lot of dedicated individuals, not just in Congress, but the FAA, the Port Authority, who want to see positive change.
So I think we have to acknowledge that in order for us to grow, in order for us to accommodate the more than one billion people that are predicted to travel in our nation's airports over the next ten years, we're going to have to bite the bullet.
I think what is alluded to is there isn't a silver bullet. We don't think there is a silver bullet.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I would hope for the good of the order, for the good of the country, for the good of New York and New Jersey, that we try to do what we can to enhance capacity to adjust air traffic control and modernize our system in such a way that we are not stuck in time.
And I think there are a lot of constructive suggestions that have been made. I don't want to bore this committee with them. We all know them.
We have to make those changes to modernize our system.
We have a situation that affects us as well adversely on Staten Island, And we have seen the tremendous growth at Newark Airport over the last 20 years or so.
It has to do with departures to the south. About half of the flights that take off for departure, I know air noise is a problem for all of us, but it's a particular problem for the people I represent on Staten Island.
Half the planes that take off from Newark take off to the south. There has been a takeoff pattern implemented over the years, rarely modified to our liking, that essentially sends every plane over the north and western shore of Staten Island.
It causes people in those communities, homeowners, you name it, a barrage of air noise that is justit does not enhance whatsoever the quality of life. In fact, it diminishes it a great deal.
We have called upon the FAA a number of times to implement what we think is a reasonable suggestion. Indeed internal studies in the FAA have said so, something called a straight-out departure. It's more efficient. It's the safest and more reliable departure plan that would not only, granted, solve the air noise problem on Staten Island, but make the delays at Newark less, and that in my opinion would enhance the efficiency.
And we have yet to even get a real test.
So, Mr. Chairman, I'm hoping that one day after we have seen a man land on the moon and the Berlin Wall fall, even last year there was a Subway World Series, we still can't get a straight-out departure, a real live test out of Newark, and I am hoping and praying that one day the FAA does that.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You are going to hear a lot from my colleagues here, and I yield back, Mr. Chairman, but I appreciate you taking the time. This is critical to every one of the people who live in this area, especially businesses and leisurely travelers, and I am just hoping we can all work together for the good of the order.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman from New York, and pleased to recognize the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Rothman.
TESTIMONY OF THE HON. STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Mr. ROTHMAN. Thank you, Chairman Mica.
I want to welcome all of the members of the Subcommittee and Mr. Doolittle who is a fellow member of the Appropriations Committee. I'm a new member of that committee as well.
I thank you, my friends, for being here, Ranking Member Pascrell, and my friend Frank LoBiondo from New Jersey and all my friends for being here.
I represent the 9th Congressional District of New Jersey. That is just over the river, the Hudson River in New Jersey, half of Bergen County and a portion of Hudson County.
Teterboro Airport. Teterboro Airport is in my District. My district, hundreds of thousands of people in my district happen to lie beneath the flight paths for all the airports; JFK, Newark and LaGuardia, and Teterboro.
Hundreds of thousands of people are affected every day. That's why I am here. They don't like it.
I supported the slot lottery at LaGuardia Airport. I am pleased to learn that the slot lottery was extended until a long-term solution can be debated.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am particularly pleased that the FAA has said that they're open to new suggestions, in addition to the five that they set out, for options to relieve the problem at LaGuardia, because it involves another airport, an airport whose congressional representatives, at least three of which have told me they want to become the fourth regional airport.
I am speaking of Congressman Sweeney, Gilman and Hinchey, who tell me that Stewart Airport, just 55 miles away, should be the next large airport.
And if that is the case, that could be a reliever for LaGuardia, a reliever airport for Teterboro and for some of the problems here.
Again, those are the representations made to me by those members.
I'm anxious to hear what the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's director of aviation, Bill DeCota, has to say on the issue, because I am a firm believer in having Congress listen to the local operators of these airports in addition to listening to the people who live in and around these airports.
I think we need to set a precedent, that while the Congress has a role in protecting interstate commerce, it also has a role in protecting the quality of life of the people who live in and around the airports, because obviously if we do nothing as members of Congress but serve commerce, and allow that to destroy the quality of life of the people of America, that is certainly not what the founders of this nation had in mind when they talked about enhancing interstate commerce.
For example, we have all kinds of local prerogatives when it comes to the highways. Some states are allowed to ban the large double and triple tractor-trailers. At their discretion, even though it's interstate commerce.
We made the decision that even though the highways physically can accommodate cars without catalytic converters, we said no, we want cars to have catalytic converters and they must have them in order to operate on our roads.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We wanted to upgrade the quality of life, even though we also wanted to serve interstate commerce, which brings me to Teterboro Airport.
You know, there is a lot of talk about stage four engines and how quiet they're going to be. Stage four engines. Everyone is very proud of the fact that all of the major airports have airplanes, jet airplanes that have stage three engines.
Well, guess what? At Teterboro Airport, there are jets still using stage one and stage two engines.
How did that happen? How does it continue to happen today?
It continues to happen today because of a loophole, an omission in the ANCA law passed in 1990, where planes under 100,000 pounds didn't have to have a stage three engine by the year 2000.
Now, Teterboro Airport, between 1995 and 1999, jet operations at Teterboro increased 61 percent. This disrupts the livesagain, we are under the flight paths of all the other airports coming in and out of New York, the major airports.
Can you imagine, we still have to deal with stage one and stage two jets and the loudest turboprops for which there are no noise standards.
That is why I recommend that this Commission, that this Congress allow the local operators, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to ban stage one and stage two engines for jet aircraft at Teterboro Airport, consistent with the ANCA law that kept them, that made all of the major airports in America use only stage three jet engines by the year 2000.
In addition, that we keep aircraft over 100,000 pounds away from Teterboro. The airport wasn't designed for it.
Also, that we cannot the restriction at Teterboro Airport that prevents regularly scheduled commercial operations at that airport.
Teterboro can never be, should never be and will never be a major or regional airport like LaGuardia, JFK or New York. It wasn't designed for it. It's in the middle of the most densely crowded state in the union, as one of the most densely crowded regions in the most densely crowded state where this little suburban reliever airport is located amidst hundreds of thousands of suburbanites who don't want increased operations at the airport when we are told Stewart Airport, among others, wants to increase and grow.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, I urge this Committee and the Aviation Subcomittee to be sensitive to the needs of the people who live in and around the airports.
We cannot only serve interstate commerce at the expense of the people. We have to be able to say, just like in a crowded theater, all the people who want to go see The Producers, the Mel Brooks show, there would be people who would be willing to stand in the aisles, sit on the laps of those people already in seats, they don't care.
But, no, we say at some point the theater is too crowded. Enough is enough. You will have to wait to get into the theater on another night or see another show.
That is the saying that should apply to Teterboro Airport and all the other airports around here so we do not destroy the quality of life of our people in service to interstate commerce.
By the way, I want to extend my gratitude to Chairman Mica, who has indicated that after my service on this panel, I might join you up next to my colleague, Mr. Doolittle, from the Appropriations Committee.
Mr. MICA. You are welcome. We appreciate your testimony, and any of the members, we'll try to make accommodation to join us on the panel afterwards.
Let me recognize now the gentleman from New York, Mr. Crowley, for his statement.
TESTIMONY OF THE HON. JOSEPH CROWLEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. CROWLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I sincerely appreciate this opportunity to testify before the Subcommittee this morning.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As a neighbor to LaGuardia Airport for nearly 40 years and as the member of Congress representing the airport, I have experienced firsthand the effects of the airport on passengers and adjacent neighborhoods.
It's probably a good thing that this hearing is being held here at the Port Authority headquarters as opposed to the airport itself because of the ground delays and engines on the runway, and flights taking off every minute-and-a-half and landing every minute-and-a-half. We probably couldn't hear ourselves this morning.
But the effects are not limited to the issues of aircraft noise and pollution. It also deals with the issue of airport and aircraft congestion.
The problems associated with LaGuardia Airport are well-documented, but the solutions still leave something to be desired.
In response to a growing list of concerns in my district, my office commissioned a report entitled, ''LaGuardia Airport, Can The Airport And Community Co-exist?''.
This is a question that has troubled passengers and the community alike for many decades.
This report clearly analyzes the shortcomings and inadequacies of the airport, not for the purpose of criticism, but rather as a foundation for improving the overall condition in our community and at our airport.
Rather than rehashing the problems, I would like to focus on potential solutions to them.
My first recommendation focused on the possible methods of reducing aircraft congestion.
All too often, travelers spend more time on the ground, delayed at LaGuardia, than they do in the air.
As my report and the recently released FAA report on congestion indicate, the airport is completely saturated.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC LaGuardia does not have the ability to expand, nor can it safely accommodate any more flights. We simply cannot pave over Flushing Bay. Unless we want to move the Grand Central Parkway somewhere else in Queens County, we cannot move south either.
As you saw during your field visit, LaGuardia is not the size of a major international airport.
I want to inform my colleague from New Jersey, Mr. Rothman, you can literally fit LaGuardia Airport into the International Terminal at JFK Airport. That's how small it is. It us not a major airport. It's a commuter airport.
Given these constraints, what is the solution?
One possible option is the implementation of congestion pricing, as was mentioned earlier. By making it more expensive for passengers to travel during peak hours, they may choose to fly at other times, leading to a reduction in delays at the airport.
That is not to say there have been no steps taken to alleviate delays, though. To the contrary, the decision by the FAA to pursue the slot lottery and put a cap on new operations at LaGuardia is not perfect, but I believe it's an appropriate interim solution until the FAA arrives at a long-term strategy.
Additionally, this report touches on the concept of burden sharing. I understand, of course, the resistance by some to flying into other airports. It's simply a matter of convenience for many people.
LaGuardia Airport is full, and there is simply no standing room left.
On June 6, 2001, the FAA and Port Authority issued an impressive list of policy proposals for LaGuardia Airport. I want to commend the policy options proposed by the FAA and the Port Authority to relieve congestion at the airport.
It troubles me to report, however, that while a great deal of attention is paid to the concerns of the travelers, very little attention is paid to the citizens of the neighborhoods, the neighbors who live in the neighborhoods, adjacent to LaGuardia Airport.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The increase in the number of flights flying overhead and sitting idly on the ground has a far-reaching impact on my constituents and the other members of this panel this morning.
In response to the by-product associated with overcongestion at the airport, such as noise and air pollution, my report's second recommendation calls for an FAA neighborhood noise impact study, also known as a Part 150 study.
The purpose of the Part 150 study is to evaluate programs to reduce the impact of airplane noise on neighborhoods adjacent to the airport.
The study will identify existing noise levels and protect noise levels into the future. It will also evaluate noise abatement and land use alternatives and then recommend those programs that can be expected to reduce the number of people affected by noise around the airport.
Other U.S. Airports such as Minneapolis, St. Paul, Washington's National Airport and Seattle, Tacoma, along with over 240 other airports, are all participating in Part 150 studies.
With over 150,000 Queens residents adversely affected by the airport, it's essential that we take immediately actions to mitigate these harmful effects as soon as possible.
The third point of my report focuses on the impact of LaGuardia on the health of the residents in the adjacent communities.
In 1997, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region II completed its review of a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's program to identify facilities with major violations of permits for air emissions and bring them into full compliance.
Given this report is nearly five years old, I sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency requesting an updated study, which would devise a strategy that will identify the major violators and take appropriate steps towards improving the overall health of men, women and children in Queens County.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The fourth point is one of particular concern to my constituents. I can't tell you how many calls my office receives from residents complaining about aircraft noise at two o'clock in the morning.
Continental Flight 1960 from Houston, Texas, is scheduled to arrive at LaGuardia Airport at 1:55 in the morning. That means that my constituents are jolted from their slumber at approximately 1:55 on a regular basis. This is simply unacceptable.
I have proposed a hard and fast curfew of 11:00 p.m. Seven days a week without exception at LaGuardia Airport.
Furthermore, tomorrow I will be introducing legislation calling for the establishment of an airport noise curfew commission. This commission will be tasked with the responsibility of setting guidelines for airport curfews throughout the United States.
The issue of hush kits and their ability to reduce noise in stage three aircraft is simply a joke. We need to focus our efforts on developing noise reduction technology that actually reduces noise.
These may seem like very lofty goals, but they are all attainable. Whether it's an issue of noise, air quality or flight delays, all of us in this room want the same thing for LaGuardia Airport.
We share a vision of an airport that runs safely and efficiently without harming the community or environment.
Let me say, finally, that when people ask me, Mr. Crowley, give me a landmark that you represent in New York City, it's a big city, I used to proudly say I have LaGuardia Airport in my district. I don't say that anymore. I am embarrassed to say I have LaGuardia in my district.
I now focus more on the fact that Shea Stadium and the U.S. Open is held in my district.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It's unfortunate, because I do agree with the other panelists here. It should the engine that drives this city, but unfortunately we are abusing that engine.
LaGuardia is broken, and we need to help fix it.
I thank the Chairman and the other members for being here this morning.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman for his statement and recognize now another representative from New York City, Mr. Weiner.
You are recognized. Welcome.
TESTIMONY OF THE HON. ANTHONY D. WEINER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. WEINER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I want to express the gratitude of our whole city for your chairmanship. You have been forceful in advocating fixing some of the problems in our aviation industry.
On a personal note, I would encourage you when you return to Florida to give my best regards to all my former constituents who have moved to your district.
Mr. MICA. They elected me.
Mr. WEINER. I note with some humor that Mr. Nadler in his remarks recommended moving some flights from LaGuardia to Teterboro, and I hear Mr. Rothman suggest moving them from Teterboro to Stewart.
If this hearing goes on much longer, they will be landing in Montreal and taking a bus into LaGuardia.
Mr. PASCRELL. That's a possibility.
Mr. WEINER. I will do my best in my remarks not to seek to move the problem from one spot to another but seek to improve it.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is not a problem that is unique to New York, but I think we would all agree it's most acute in New York and LaGuardia Airport.
The first thing we have to clarify, and I think only Congress can do this, is who is accountable for these problems.
We saw an unusual circumstance in the recent debate last year about how to solve the problems at LaGuardia, where local port authorities said we have no jurisdiction to stop planes from coming in and out of our facility.
As long as they have a gate that is available in our facility, we can't stop them. If they want to schedule them two minutes after one another, we don't have the accountability and we don't have the ability to stop them.
The FAA, frankly, seemed to agree with that assessment. While there is this slot lottery going on, still we have the airlines threatening to sue to stop any further limitations on traffic.
I think Congress should say local airport authorities have the right and they have the responsibility for making sure that these problems are solved in a reasonable manner.
Secondly, we need to provide consumer information that means something. How many times have we climbed onto a plane and see the flight attendants hurriedly seating people, saying we have to pull away from the gate, we have to pull away from the gate, to preserve our on-time rating, only to sit on the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport after being told we're 15 or 20 or 25 for takeoff.
Frankly, the time you pull away from the gate no longer is a rationale or reasonable way to judge whether an airline is on-time.
If you go to the Department of Transportation web site and you see someone had a 90 percent on-time takeoff, that probably is completely meaningless. Consumers need real information and what is real for the purposes of LaGuardia Airport is when you actually took off. How long it was that you were sitting on the tarmac.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'll tell you what the effect would be of providing that information and compiling it. The airlines would finally have some incentive to say, you know what, having five or six or eight planes sitting on the tarmac, which means we're going to have a lower and lower on-time rating and we're not going to be able to advertise that we are the most on-time airline in the sky, that would really have an influence on the airline's activities.
Third, we have to preserve, and at LaGuardia, enhance the limits on slots.
The AIR-21 bill, something that I supported, has proven to be a failure because of the, frankly, piggish attitudes of the airlines.
We assumed there would be a certain rationale activity when you say we're going to open up the airport for a limited number of small carriers going to smaller airports around the country.
What we did not anticipate is that every airline would file hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of applications to airports they never had any intention of flying to simply to preclude their competitors from operating.
If the story that gets written after these laws are passed are that the airlines are going to look for every possible loophole to exploit these laws, we're simply not going to put them into place.
There is no doubt in my mind the slot cap in LaGuardia and Kennedy Airports needs to be continued.
Finally, a couple of suggestions dealing with something Mr. Crowley and Mr. Rothman and other members of the Committee have spoken about, The impact of those who live beneath these airports.
Mr. Rothman pointed out we have had some success enhancing to stage three aircraft.
There is currently no requirement under the law and none that we have acted on in Congress to go to the next stage, stage four. I have introduced the Silent Skies Act, which would require a 25 percent reduction in airline engines in the next ten years.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We need to keep pushing the envelope, because if we leave to it the airlines, they simply will not do it.
I believe we have to at least set the standards for them to try to get to.
Secondly, there needs to be some accountability for whether or not flight routes that are approved are actually followed.
Mr. Fossella, Mr. Rothman, Mr. Pascrell and I, Mr. Crowley, all know that we enter into these great debates about trying to get flight patterns approved that mitigate air noise as much as possible, and they are simply not followed.
This weekend I was in Rockaway. Perhaps I was on Rockaway Beach. Perhaps I was not exactly working, but I was noticing that the flight path that was supposed to require flights that leave Kennedy going out and around Breezy Point were simply being ignored.
Who is accountable?
The short answer is no one. Fines are very rarely levied against pilots. The air traffic control system is simply not equipped to say you have got to go a specific heading. They often give them a range of headings.
I think we need to improve the accountability on that front as well.
Third, this is in keeping with what Mr. Crowley said, those of us who fly to National Airport every week, and all of us do, notice that the pilots go to great lengths to fly down a southern route and then up to travel over the Potomac River.
It adds a couple of minutes, maybe a couple of dollars to the flight, but it's something I think all the residents of Washington D.C, including the President and Vice President who live under what would be a normal flight pattern, they appreciate it.
There is no reason why those same types of flight paths, the same types of limitation on travel can't be put into place at LaGuardia Airport.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Maybe it's true that President Bush doesn't live in Elmhurst or live in Rockaway, and maybe Mrs. Crapalucci doesn't have the same lobbyist that they do.
But I want to tell you something, there is no reason why the airlines can't comply with those same types of patterns in New York as well.
Finally, it is time for us to outlaw the Concorde. Right now there is only one plane that is permitted to fly not only stage two or stage one, to fly at any volume that they want, and that is the Concorde.
We expressly wrote an exemption in for the Supersonic Transport when the limitations were written.
It is a plane that is very nice to look at, but it is hardly fuel efficient. It only carries about 100 passengers. They pay about $5,000 each way.
There are dozens and dozens of alternative routes and it is a menace. It makes a gigantic loud booming sound that you can hear all the way into parts of my district in Brooklyn.
Just this week, according to reports, there were tests in Europe to see if it's ready to take off again. I believe the time has some for us to say that three or four flights a day on the Concorde should be stopped.
We don't want them. The French and British people don't want them, and frankly, the people that are paying that kind of money to get back and forth can find alternatives.
I thank the Committee for its consideration.
Mr. MICA. Thank the gentleman.
We are also joined on this panel by Mr. Peter Magnani, he's Deputy Bureau President of the Borough of Queens and he's also testifying on behalf of the Honorable Claire Shulman, who is President of the Borough of Queens.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Magnani, you are welcome and recognized.
TESTIMONY OF PETER MAGNANI, DEPUTY BOROUGH PRESIDENT, BOROUGH OF QUEENS, ON BEHALF OF HONORABLE CLAIRE SHULMAN, PRESIDENT, BOROUGH OF QUEENS
Mr. MAGNANI. Thank you very much.
I would like to thank Chairman Mica and the members of the Aviation Subcomittee for having us here today.
Queens has more than two million residents and includes both JFK International and LaGuardia Airports.
In particular, LaGuardia is a very important airport in that it provides vital services for New York City's business community as well as the nation's businesses.
As you have already heard in Borough President Claire Shulman's testimony before this subcommittee last December, our office has been involved in aviation-related matters.
Many of the subcommittee members are aware that we lobbied very strenuously against that part of AIR-21 which loosened the restrictions on the high density rule.
Also, back when the bill was first enacted and the airlines filed plans with the U.S. Department of Transportation to operate as many as 600 additional flights per day at LaGuardia, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and the borough presidents sued that agency in Federal Court for not overseeing the implementation of AIR-21 in a responsible way.
For example, the USDOT did not require environmental impact studies before allowing hundreds of new flights to be added at New York's airports, which, as I said, are located in densely populated areas, and that case is still pending in the courts.
We realize that our aviation related noise and pollution problems might appear to some observers to be provincial and of little consequence given air travel's critical importance to the nation's economic vitality.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me assure you, however, that our concerns go beyond quality of life issues.
While the airports admittedly have some adverse impacts on our communities, the benefits have been substantial as well.
Specifically, the airports provide jobs and revenue for the entire region.
More than 47,000 people work at LaGuardia and JFK, and airport businesses help support another 270,000 airport related jobs throughout the region.
The airports' combined economic impact on the region is estimated to be over $30 billion per year.
LaGuardia in particular is probably the most important business travelers' airport in the nation. However, the implementation of AIR-21 last year added approximately 300 daily flights at that airport alone, which in turn greatly increased the frequency and length of flight delays.
LaGuardia was jeopardized by an imminent state of gridlock, both in the air and on the ground and around the airport.
Indeed, the passage of AIR-21 had serious repercussions at LaGuardia. Some of the statistics I'm sure you all know.
Airlines filed more than 600 new daily flights at LaGuardia, which represented an increase of 50 percent. In September of 2000, there were more than 9,000 flight delays at LaGuardia, which constituted more than 25 percent of the delays in the entire United States.
We applaud the Port Authority and the FAA for their efforts to effectuate the spirit of AIR-21 in a reasonable way without crippling operations at LaGuardia.
In particular, we refer to the slot lottery system, which was implemented earlier this year as a temporary solution to the problem, pending more permanent demand management solutions, many of which have been proposed by the FAA and others.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While my office has not endorsed any specific proposal at this early stage, we of course support an extension of some form of current slot lottery system until a more permanent solution is adopted.
Our hope is that whatever plan is implemented, it will result in more efficient operation of the airports with a minimum amount of disruption to our communities.
For example, we would never consent to a physical expansion of LaGuardia. We might support the use of larger aircraft, but only with assurances that such aircraft are the most quiet, state-of-the-art models.
To those who have suggested that the Port Authority and the FAA have overstepped their roles in operating the airports and overseeing air traffic, we respond that these agencies have implemented a variable, if temporary, solution to a vexing problem and, in fact, are carrying out their mandate to ensure an aviation system that runs efficiently and safely while at the same time incorporating the spirit of AIR-21.
Statistics obtained from the FAA demonstrate that the slot lottery system has indeed been successful in helping LaGuardia avoid excessive delays. Since April 2001, after the slot system was implemented, the average number of daily operations has been held to under 1,200, which experts concede should be the maximum number of daily operations for LaGuardia.
The average daily delays have dropped to 98 late flights from a maximum of 330. The percentage of operations delays dropped to under 9 percent from 27 percent.
At this point, we believe it is imperative to keep a cap on the number of new flights at the airports and to realistically assess the situation before proceeding with any of the proposed plans for the future.
As we have stated before, some possible solutions to the problem caused by the congestion delays could include the following: Better use of the Metropolitan area's other airports, a strategy incorporated by at least two new entrant airlines, a one-seat train ride from Manhattan to JFK, which my office continues to advocate would help in this regard.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Effective and timely redesign of airspace. As you know, the FAA is currently studying the long-term prospects for airspace redesign.
Updating the technology and improving the operation of the FAA.
Encouraging the use of other modes of transportation, including high-speed trains.
Encouraging the airlines to add flights only to truly underserved areas, and in providing such service to implement efficient business plans so that airlines do not schedule too many flights to small markets with only half their seats filled.
Simply put, there must be a way to broaden access to New York City without resorting to the drastic increases sought by the airlines.
While the concept of letting the free market control the number of flights might sound good in theory, at an airport the size and configuration of LaGuardia, where demand is overwhelming, there must be some external control, such as the slot lottery system or one of its proposed successors.
In addition, as the level of air traffic intensifies in coming years, existing noise mitigations should be expanded to include more public facilities and institution such as affected schools and hospitals, as well as the most adversely impacted private homes and residential buildings.
While the above list of suggestions is certainly not exhaustive, there are certain other proposals which we would vehemently oppose.
As I indicated earlier, there is no practical way that LaGuardia can be expanded. I hope that while you were in town, you had an opportunity to visit LaGuardia's air traffic control tower and see how the airport is bordered on all sides by residential neighborhoods, roadways or water.
Such a visit provides firsthand knowledge of how aircraft line up, often 10 or 20 at a time, awaiting clearance for takeoffs and then have to navigate one of the two runways which are not only shorter than average, but intersect as well.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is impossible to imagine how such a uniquely configured airport could be redesigned or expanded in order to safely and efficiently accommodate an evergrowing volume of traffic.
To sum up, we strongly support and thank the FAA and Port Authority for their efforts to maintain a high level of service at LaGuardia, and to protect the interests of airlines, as well as the people of the entire New York region.
At this time, we would like to ask the airlines to join these agencies in a dialogue aimed at seeking solutions to all the problems I have just discussed.
As always, my office and its resources are available to help in any efforts to improve the airport.
I would like to thank you again, Chairman Mica, for allowing me to testify before the Subcommittee on issues of such great importance to so many people.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman, and I want to thank all of the panelists, members of Congress, my colleagues for coming out today.
I have conducted a number of field hearings over the last number of years, and we have never had this many members appear at one field hearing.
So what I would like to do, rather than to get into questions and answers or cross-examination of the witnesses, I invite the five members of Congress to join in.
Believe it or not, we'll have five seats.
What I would like to do is extend by unanimous consent an opportunity to participate.
What I will do is excuse you, and those who would like to join us, if the staff can rearrange the places here, come and join us on the panel.
And then let me call our second panel.
I want to thank you, Mr. Magnani, for your testimony and participation, and also participation of the Borough of Queens today.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We'll have the second panel, the Honorable Jane Garvey, and she is the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.
The other witness on this panel is Mr. William R. DeCota and he's the Director of Aviation for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
We are pleased to have both of you with us.
As I mentioned at the opening, if you have any lengthy statements, materials, data information you would like to be made part of the record, we will be glad to do so through unanimous consent.
Let me recognize first the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, Honorable Jane Garvey.
Welcome and you're recognized.
TESTIMONY OF HONORABLE JANE F. GARVEY, ADMINISTRATOR, FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
Ms. GARVEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Pascrell and members of the Subcommitee.
First of all, I want to thank you for the opportunity to join you this morning, and also, Mr. Chairman, thank you for your leadership, not just here today but certainly on so many issues that are affecting this nation's air travelers.
I want to also make a note of the members from the New York delegation, each of whom have worked very closely with us and we appreciate that.
I listened intently and carefully to the suggestions that were made this morning, and certainly want to continue that close cooperation.
I am also pleased to be here with Mr. DeCota, who has providedhe has a terrifically difficult job and he has done it well and worked closely with us on a number of issues, as we'll have a chance to talk about.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As you have seen from your visits over the last several days, the Port Authority airports handle an impressive 90 million passengers, 2.8 million tons of cargo and serve over 1.4 million aircraft movements every year.
As you have rightly noted, Mr. Chairman, when there is a delay here in New York, when there is a delay at LaGuardia, it can generate systemwide impacts in a very short period of time. I think that's why we've been so focused on it.
Over the last several months, I have had the pleasure to appear before this Committee and to discuss some of the tactical, strategic initiatives that we are employing to address the capacity of our national airspace system.
Certainly, this hearing gives us a chance to focus more intently on New York and its airports.
Certainly, the initiatives are really happening nationwide.
Let me say at the outset, overall I think we are making real and very measurable progress. Delays are down, that is good news.
With collaboration from the airlines and the airports and certainly with some help from Mother Nature, we can report that we had four consecutive months of decreases in air traffic delays compared to last year.
Preliminary figures for June show delays down about 17 percent, and an average over the last four months, we have seen a 10 percent decrease in delays.
From my perspective, I think the most interesting development has been the decrease in ground-stop minutes. Ground-stop minutes, that is the amount of time that a flight might be delayed on the ground and create some of problems as Congressman Crowley talked about before.
Those delays were down 62 percent in May compared to last year.
On average, the delay time has been reduced from 57 minutes to 37 minutes, a reduction of about a third. So the trend lines are heading in the right direction.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The initiatives that we have talked about in the past are reaping some benefits as well. For departures going west out of New York, you all remember that we focused very clearly at first on the New York/New Jersey airports. For those departures going west out of Newark Airport, there are 25 percent fewer unplanned departure stops. That's good news for those passengers who are on the tarmac.
We have reduced congestion north out of New York, and reduced departure stops by 37 percent. Trend lines are heading in the right direction.
You have also given us the opportunity to speak before this Committee about the national airspace redesign and our operation evolution plan.
The evolution plan really lays out our blueprint for the future. As you have pointed out, the national airspace redesign will restructure the airspace and routes into and out of New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia to increase capacity and provide more efficient routes.
But as the members of the delegation have so correctly pointed out, to also allow us to deal with the noise issues.
Mr. Pascrell, I think your comments about staying in close touch with Congress, keeping that on track is going to be critically important.
The effort has identified four redesign concepts. We have had many, many meetings here, 27 public meetings to really hear some of the comments. Those comments closed on June 29th and we are looking at those comments right now.
In the spring, I spoke to you about the airport capacity benchmark report. We think that is very valuable data in the report, and we think it's helping all of us, airports, airlines, FAA to make better, to make much more informed decisions and investments to better manage what we see as an increasing demand.
As you have seen for yourselves, one of the biggest challenges is to address the demand here at LaGuardia Airport, an airport that everyone has said is quite constrained.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We know we've made some improvements with the lottery we put in place last year, going from about 25 percent of delays into the system to less than 10 percent. That is good news.
While that is progress, we know that we are still facing the challenge of identifying and implementing, as Mr. Nadler suggested, a longer term solution for managing capacity here at LaGuardia.
Because it will take time to examine those policy options, we proposed in the federal register to extend the existing allocation of slot exemptions until October of 2002.
The period for public comment on these proposals ended last Thursday, and while we want to give ourselves time to respond to that, I certainly haven't seen anything in the comments that would suggest that we not continue with that lottery. So we expect a decision very soon, but clearly the comments are very positive in that regard.
With respect to the longer term solutions, the comment period for that proposal closes on August 13th. There is no question that this is the most challenging aspect for us, because, as you all have said, what we really need to do is balance many public policy questions.
We have the issue of access to small communities, which is critically important to members of Congress, and to the traveling public. We have the issue of delays, which is also very important, and we have the whole issue of competition.
How can we encourage start-up carriers?
So those are the public policy questions that we are considering as we consider those public comments.
Mr. Chairman, that completes my opening remarks, and I would be very happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Mr. MICA. Thank you for your comments and statement. Let's withhold questions until we hear from Mr. DeCota.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DeCota is the director of Aviation of the Port Authority.
Welcome, sir, and you are recognized.
TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM R. DECOTA, DIRECTOR OF AVIATION, PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY
Mr. DECOTA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, other distinguished members of the Subcommitee, good morning. Welcome. It's been our great pleasure to host you this weekend so you could see our airports firsthand and learn of some of the situations that we as the airport operator are trying to address here.
On behalf of the Port Authority, I appreciate the opportunity to testify at this hearing and share with you some of our thoughts and our concerns about the New York Metropolitan area airspace issues.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates a four-airport system comprised of LaGuardia, Kennedy, Newark and Teterboro airports.
We also operate the Downtown Manhattan Heliport here in Manhattan.
You have heard about the huge economic impacts that those airports engender. They produce $40 billion in economic activity, 400,000 jobs, and as directed under bi-state legislation, we operate those facilities as a system so that we can coordinate all those activities to meet the requirements of a very demanding passenger base, of the cargo market and to meet the needs of the trade, travel and commerce of this region.
All of our airports are very intensively utilized. You've heard talk about the number of passengers, the huge number of cargo, the 1.4 million aircraft movements that we handle.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Unfortunately, we do that in only 8,500 acres. The fact is that all four of our major commercial airports could fit into half of the space occupied by Dallas/Fort Worth or a quarter of the space at the new Denver airport.
The New York/New Jersey region is the nation's largest population center. It has the most busy and complex airspace anywhere.
Ours is the busiest airport system. The fact is the New York Tracon, the FAA's regional air traffic control center, handles about 7,000 flights per day in our regional airspace.
We hope that with the crucial support of Congress, the FAA will make great progress with the redesign of the nation's airspace.
We are very pleased that the administrator came here to begin that program, and we welcome the Committee's support for the key capacity enhancement, as well as the important service implications that will come out of that.
By untangling all of the very complex roots that we now have, the arrival and departure streams, and by reordering those, we expect not only that the system will become much more efficient, but more importantly, as you have heard from a number of people who talked about it today, that the communities will feel less noise impact, which is the other key objective of all of the comments I am making to you today.
The pervasiveness of flight delays and flight cancellations throughout the country are certainly not unique to our region, and changes what was formerly an exciting experience to an endurance contest.
FAA forecasts that increased growth will continue for the foreseeable future. That is also true in our airports.
Newark experienced it's fourth year of record growth. In fact, with the total of 34.2 million passengers and 400,000 aircraft movements, that's a growth of about 54 percent just over the last decade.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Even using a modest forecast of about 2.3 percent a year, New York will reach 42.6 million passengers by the year 2010.
The airport is landlocked, as are all of our airports. There's only 2,000 acres of land at Newark. That compares to Kennedy, where we have 5,000 acres of land.
While we have a very aggressive construction program ongoing at every one of those airports to try to make the maximum utilization of those very limited, horizontal geographies, the fact is that air-side and airspace constraints pose the major obstacle to try to increase the number of passengers and to fully utilize the capacity that exists at those airports.
There are already a number of airlines that operate our airports. There are other airlines that would like to operate at our airports. Those are the things we're going to have to try to deal with in order to surmount this delay issues.
John F. Kennedy International Airport has about 5,000 acres. It has experienced about a 25 percent growth rate over the last ten years. It serves 32 million passengers and about 345,000 aircraft movements.
By the year 2010, we are projecting that the airport will grow to 45 million passengers. Once again, the same kinds of issues with crowded airspace.
Kennedy, however, in fact, at least offers a partial solution to the congestion in this region and how we serve passengers.
As Congressman Meeks points out in his testimony, the airport currently has the capacity to handle more operations to a certain extent.
However, we have had to work on things like improving access, as you saw on your tour. We are working on a $1.9 billion air train system among other projects to try to expand capacity there.
Our goal at all of our airports is to provide airport infrastructure that is second to known and that is capable of supporting our current and future demand for air service at a reasonable level of service.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And now to LaGuardia, which is really a lot of the focus of what we are talking about today.
LaGuardia experienced an 11 percent increase in passenger traffic to 25 million passengers last year. That was over the last ten years.
Even with moderate growth, we're projecting that LaGuardia will need to handle about 30 million passengers by the end of the decade.
It's a very small airport, as many of you have seen on your tours. It's very uniquely constrained. It's surrounded by Flushing Bay, a community, arterial highways, and with two 7,000-foot perpendicular, intersecting runways, flights have to be very carefully choreographed.
At 650 acres, all of LaGuardia Airport could fit into the central terminal area of Kennedy Airport.
It has been necessary, and I think this is a very important point, over the last many years for both the Port Authority and the Federal Government to work together to look for ways to try to manage the level of demand at LaGuardia.
I call your attention to some history. Geographic flight constraints have been in place at LaGuardia since the 1950's to effectively try to handle the demand at LaGuardia Airport.
Right now, since 1984, we have had a perimeter rule that limits flights to 1,500 miles and encourages those other flights to go to other airports.
In 1968, we implemented a peak hour surcharge of general aviation aircraft to try to encourage that activity to go to general aviation or other reliever airports.
Also in 1968, the Federal Government passed the High Density Rule, which managed the unacceptable levels of congestion and delay that LaGuardia was experiencing by basically putting caps on the allowable number of flights.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Port Authority expects moderate growth in passengers in LaGuardia over the next ten years; however, our plans are entirely predicated upon no increase in the number of flights at LaGuardia.
It is not our goal to grow the number of flights, but to improve the efficiency with which the airport is being used.
Last year, there were 385,000 flights at LaGuardia. That is the same as the number of flights at Kennedy. There is only an average of 70 seats on every single aircraft. It's arguable that with 25 million passengers, LaGuardia is the busiest small airport in the world.
I draw your attention to Reagan National Airport. LaGuardia is 200 acres smaller than Reagan Airport, yet it has double the passenger throughput of its Virginia cousin, which itself is a congested airport.
For the coming years, we plan a lot of projects to improve customer service to accommodate larger aircraft. Those are key to trying to make more protective use of LaGuardia.
There is no doubt about the fact that the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act of the 21st Century is landmark legislation. It has had tremendous contribution to the nation's air travel system.
It just so happens that service at LaGuardia increased dramatically several months after the enactment.
You have heard about the number of new flights. Faced with that rapidly worsening situation, it was described as a crisis by some, the Port Authority took a number of steps to prevent gridlock.
We asked the airlines to forewarn us, to voluntarily not schedule flights, and all of those were unfortunately largely ignored.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, congestion at LaGuardia is far more than just an inconvenience. It really is a major problem.
In addition to the noise impacts it generates, last year it became an absolutely unacceptable bottleneck, as you've heard here today.
You have heard about how LaGuardia comprised 25 percent of all flight delays and 43 percent of the volume delays.
LaGuardia is a particularly challenged airport. It also tends to portend nationwide and systemwide problems.
The FAA's recently released benchmarks for 31 airports provide some sobering information to help capacity at the most delayed airport in the country. That is certainly a big problem.
Now, there are many problems as you know that contribute to congestion. It's just not the number of flights.
To your credit, your Subcommittee and other members of Congress are trying to bring attention to those.
One is to get airlines to talk about the situation, give them some limited antitrust immunity.
Certainly the benchmark report of the FAA will be very helpful in that regard. The best and obvious solution is a capacity expansion, but as you have seen at LaGuardia, that is not possible.
LaGuardia started as a sea plane airport and the only way to expand capacity of more flights would be to return to a sea plane airport, which is not a likely scenario in the future.
As to the challenge at LaGuardia, we formulated many ideas working with the FAA. I do want to compliment Administrator Garvey and the Secretary of Transportation for their help and for their guidance.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We've looked at a number of steps to try to solve the problem, ranging from economic measures to administrative measures.
We really do applaud the steps the carriers have already taken at some airports, like American at Dallas, Delta at Atlanta, Continental at Newark, to try to reschedule flights.
We support legislation to give them some limited basis, antitrust immunity, but should that not fully resolve the problem, the ideas that have been put forth by the FAA on July 12th need to be very seriously considered.
There are administrative tools that would limit the number of flights. They are economic tools, such as congestion pricing and auctions that are attempting to make the use of the airport much more efficient.
Mr. Chairman, in developing ideas, we have been very careful to try to satisfy a number of policy objectives that I have heard echoed by many members of the committee today.
One is to reduce the number of aircraft operations at LaGuardia to improve schedule reliability and delays.
Two, encourage efficient utilization at LaGuardia, increasing basically the size of aircraft. It's not our objective not to allow more passengers to come into the airport but to do it with a better level of service.
Three, we want to make sure that access is preserved for new entrant airlines and underserved communities. You will find in the ideas that have been put forward, a number of mechanisms that have been suggested to try to accomplish that.
Four, we want to make sure there is reasonable stability of air service provided at the airport. It would not be in anyone's interest to see an everchanging carrier mix.
Five, we may be able to establish a source of funding to support or facilitate the development of alternative airport capacity where that might be deemed desirable.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While the industry is working to increase the capacity of our airports, we're working together to deal with the some of the challenges out there.
LaGuardia's history has shown that a series of intervening measures are often needed to manage demand and improve efficiency. It's very critical to our region, it's very critical to our nation, and it is highly desirable in our view that through the process that FAA has begun, that airlines, that communities, that members of Congress, that airport operators, that others work together to try to devise solutions.
I do thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this Committee's attention to this very important problem.
Mr. MICA. Thank you, Mr. DeCota, for your testimony and Administrator Garvey.
Let me start a round of questioning here. We have got a couple of questions for both of you.
First of all, I understand, Mr. DeCota, you have indicated that we are looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 million more passengers in the next decade arriving at the three major airports; is that correct?
Mr. DECOTA. That is correct.
Mr. MICA. What is the anticipated distribution of those?
Mr. DECOTA. Our forecast anticipates that Newark can ultimately handle about 50 million passengers. Kennedy can handle about 50 million passengers, LaGuardia would handle about 30 million passengers.
Mr. MICA. The increases, though.
Mr. DECOTA. It would be approximately a 16 million passenger increase at Newark. It would be about an 18 million passenger increase at Kennedy, and about a 5 million passenger increase at LaGuardia.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MICA. Now, in his own New York manner, Mr. Fossella really summed up the problem by saying this was trying to get ten pounds of sausage in a five-pound case, I believe it is, but how do you anticipate getting five more million passengers, for example, at LaGuardia, when our site visit obviously indicated there is, and in your testimony you said unless you bring them in by sea plane, there is no more runway expansion potential at LaGuardia.
Mr. DECOTA. The issue as I described in my testimony, Mr. Chairman, really is an airspace issue.
We have a very aggressive capital plan. It approximates $14 billion worth of the work at all three airports. That is intended to take the land-side, the access, the terminal, cargo facilities, the runway and taxiway configurations where there are minor abilities to make improvements and to bring those to those capacity levels that I have described.
But in order to be able to bring that many passengers in, clearly we're going to have to be able to do something to make more efficient the use of the air field facilities.
I mentioned there are only 70 seats on average per plane at LaGuardia. The number at Kennedy is probably even more shocking considering it's a major international airport.
The average number of seats per plane is only about 100.
So the challenge is to figure out a way to get larger aircraft into the airport and then with the help of airspace redesign, make the process more efficient.
Mr. MICA. I did hear some support for our scheduling proposal before Congress to allow the airlines to consult in scheduling, so you are supportive of that measure?
Mr. DECOTA. Very much so.
Mr. MICA. Administrator Garvey, one of the things that we have heard repeatedly is a little bit better utilization in completing the airspace study, that everyone feels that that will help alleviate some of the problem.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What we have got to deal with, of course, is delays. Capacity problems are an issue. We also have delays, most 70 percent of those, as we understand it, are caused by weather, and when you are confined, the confines of your airspace are limited, you don't have many options.
Where are we and where do we anticipate being in resolving the airspace redesign study?
Ms. GARVEY. Mr. Chairman, I think as you and other members of the Committee have mentioned, that is a critical piece of the puzzle.
We have four concepts, if you will, out for public comments.
The public comments closed on June 29th, so we are looking at all of those, and I might add that Congressman Fossella and others have been very helpful in both getting comments to us and working with our staff and helping to set up some meetings and so forth.
So we are looking at those comments now. We will have responses to all of the comments by early September. We're going to put all of that up on our web site in a way that is user friendly so that people can take a look at it, and see generally what the comments have been.
We'll focus then on a limited number of options and then go into an environmental process after that.
I think Congressman Pascrell's suggestion about keeping a very close timetable on that and working with Congress will be very helpful.
I might also add, in terms of more efficient use of the airspace, some of the tactical initiatives, that is, working with NavCanada and also the military, have offered some short-term solutions.
Mr. MICA. One of the things we heard in our site visit and discussions with local airport officials is, although there has been some progress is working with the military, it seems that their permission to enter some of their airspace is somewhat sporadic, that they will allow entry into say one area, but it doesn't provide a continuum in air traffic pattern, and this is something that I discussed briefly with you this morning.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think we're going to have to look at it, if we want some alternative. Again, not just one particular military airspace exemption, but sort of a continuum to allow better service.
Do you think we'll be able to do something like that?
Ms. GARVEY. I think, Mr. Chairman, that we can certainlywe would certainly welcome your help in working with the military. They have been very helpful.
I know there are military restrictions that they need to be concerned about, but they have been very helpful, and I think with some encouragement from the committee that would just take that it much further.
Mr. MICA. Mr. DeCota, final question.
We visited all the airports, major airports, even got to identify where Teterboro is, other than placement in my mind, and I don't think we'll be landing any more jets there right away, at least commercial service, from the testimony I heard today.
But in expansion, is there any potential for expansion, any of the existing runways at any of these three major airports?
Do you want to comment on that?
Mr. DECOTA. There are some limited opportunities for some efficiencies with regard to the existing runway and taxiway system, Mr. Chairman.
Any significant expansion of the runway capacity, however, would involve significant environmental issues. They would involve runways in bays, runways that would impact surrounding communities.
On margin, our capital plan is looking at the feasibility of perhapsfor instance, in the case of the new large aircraft that AirBus is predicted to put in service by 2006, how we can strengthen the runways to bring those in. How we can widen taxiways, but they are all really marginal projects. They are not major expansions of capacity.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MICA. In the long-term, it appears, there seems to be some consensus on looking at Stewart as a reliever airport, and again, on a long-term and possible near term, do we have any policies or anything that would serve as an incentive, other than, of course, this lottery, Ms. Garvey, that might encourage better utilization of some of these adjacent airports such as Stewart?
Ms. GARVEY. Mr. Chairman, I think the AIR-21 language that allows more money to go to small and mid-size airports was an enormous help, certainly from our perspective in terms of getting money to, getting the infrastructure in place for some of those mid-size airports.
I think the willingness, as Congresswoman Kelly mentioned this morning, the willingness of an airport like Stewart to take on more of the traffic, I think it's very encouraging.
I think what we can do at DOT is to work closely with our colleagues at the Federal Railroad Administration, for example, and the Federal Highway Administration to make sure that some of the surface pieces are put in place.
I certainly will do that. I know Secretary Mineta is absolutely committed to the idea of intermodalism, and I look forward to visiting Stewart and seeing what we can do firsthand.
Mr. MICA. I thank both of you.
Let me yield at this time to our acting ranking member, Mr. Pascrell, for the purpose of questions.
Mr. PASCRELL. First, I would like to start off with Mr. DeCota.
I mentioned beforelet me ask you this first question.
How closely do you work with the FAA research and development at Atlantic City?
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DECOTA. Have not worked with them at all.
Mr. PASCRELL. How do you come to your research and your conclusions about runway capacity.
Mr. DECOTA. I'm sorry. When you said in at Atlantic City, I thought you meant with regard to Atlantic City Airport.
With regard to Pomona?
Mr. PASCRELL. Yes.
Mr. DECOTA. And with regard to airspace redesign team and with regard to the air traffic office and Ms. Garvey's office, quite intimately.
We have an airspace group here, and that airspace group works very much lock-sync'd together with Washington, D.C. And with all of the other groups that support Washington.
Mr. PASCRELL. You would agree that the possible solutions to some of the things that we are talking about rest with research and development in the very agencies that are sponsored by FAA?
Mr. DECOTA. Particularly with regard to new technologies, like how to integrate global positioning, system technology and free-flight technologies and those kinds of things, absolutely.
Mr. PASCRELL. Let me ask you this question. Why in God's name are we not utilizing the 7,000 feet of runway at Newark Airport, which is the same length of runway at LaGuardia Airport?
Mr. DECOTA. It's a very good question, Congressman. It tends to be two initiatives. One is the air traffic controllers, who are guiding the traffic into the airport, and the other issue is the pilots who often request a longer runway.
As an airport operator, I agree with you, it's an issue of concern that that capacity exists and it is not used appropriately.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Generally, air traffic control decisions are a function of both the controller as well as the pilot decision as to what his preference would be.
We do use that runway very actively when the prevailing winds call for it, because that's the runway you'd have to use for arrival and departure, but in other conditions, you are correct, it is very underutilized.
Mr. PASCRELL. It would seem to me that if we're looking for 10 percent more capacity in the three major airports, that the utilization of that 7,000-foot runway is critical since we can't build any other runways in any of those other airports, and I will get to the taxiing in a minute, we can't do that, so we should utilize what is already there.
The air traffic controllers, and the Administrator knows, I work very closely with the air traffic controllers and the pilots.
This is again the cart pulling the horse. They can't dictate what we are doing at any of these airports. They should be part of the solution. There is no question about that.
But there is 7,000 feet of runway that is tremendously underutilized and we need to utilize it, and it would seem to me it is part of the solution, part of the solution, and I am not going to acceptI accept your answer, but I am not going to accept the source of it, because we have a job to do, and we need to overcome the barriers that presently exist.
Your answer really means to me there is no good answer, and we should be utilizing it more.
Am I misinterpreting what you are saying?
Mr. DECOTA. No, you are absolutely correct.
Mr. PASCRELL. Then we expect, and I expect through the Chair, that we'll have a report in the next six weeks to eight weeks how we are going to utilize that 7,000-foot runway to reduce the disaster that is existing.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I mean, it really is. We are talking about, Administrator Garvey, we are talking about here not only we are talking about a loss of dollars, we are talking about a loss to the environment when we have to deal with rerouting and stacking.
This is a big magilla that we are talking about. And it extendsas soon as we start to do the air traffic, the restructuring in this area, we already affect Cleveland, Boston, D.C., and probably Hong Kong, who knows, but the point is that we can address it if these parts are put together.
What are we doing about the inner structure of the airports? About taxiing? Do we have the capacity to increase runway taxiing capacity, for instance, at Newark?
Mr. DECOTA. I think increased use of runway 1129 certainly would have to have as part of its evaluation the taxiing capacity at the airport.
Right now, Newark Airport handles 464,000 aircraft movements. That is 100,000 more than what Kennedy has, which has far more air side capacity.
Delays often in taxiing and getting to a gate or back to the end of the runway can be a big piece of the trip, just as airspace can.
We can making a number of improvements in that regard, as we're working to build out terminal C with Continental Airlines. We're realigning some taxiways, putting extra pavement in where it didn't exist.
As the new control tower is built, the old control tower will come down. That will provide some aircraft maneuvering area.
I think we would have to take a very careful look exactly as you described it on what the impact would be on aircraft taxiing.
Mr. PASCRELL. Administrator Garvey, I have questions for you and I would ask you to be as specific as possible.
When can the traveling public expect to see some tangible benefits from the airspace redesign project in New Jersey, New York, where we have started it in the country?
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When can we see the tangible fallout?
Ms. GARVEY. We are starting to see some good benefits now. The choke point initiative, that really is a subset or first step in the airspace redesign.
Some of those improvements I talked about in terms of the northbound and westbound departures, that is the beginning of progress.
We're going to look for initiatives as we move through this process that we can put in place quickly.
The choke points is the first step. We've got four more of those that are going to be coming on board in the fall, and as we work through the environmental process, we'll look for initiatives that we can implement quickly.
The final, redesign as you indicated a little bit earlier in your testimony, in 2005 and 2006 is when the airspace redesign work will be completed, so the full resolution of it won't be seen until that time.
We're going to look for those initiatives that we can put in place, and the ones that we can put in place are those that do not require the same kind of modelling, the same kind of environmental work. We are constantly looking for those, what we are calling tactical initiatives.
Mr. PASCRELL. This committee, through the Chair, seeks to have a schedule.
Ms. GARVEY. I appreciate that.
Mr. PASCRELL. And I think you have agreed to that.
Ms. GARVEY. Absolutely.
Mr. PASCRELL. So we can tell whether we are becoming too bureaucratic.
We're trying to cut through the red tape. The public deserves nothing less. I am glad you agree with me.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The second question to you is this: We have heard that the proper funding for the redesign is going to cost $12.5 million. You have $8.5 million approximately.
Ms. GARVEY. That's correct.
Mr. PASCRELL. What are we going to do about getting the other $4 million so that is not used as an excuse to fall back on schedule?
Ms. GARVEY. We'll continue to work with Congress. I have not yet seen the Senate numbers for next year's budget.
My understanding is we have got enough money next year. But we'll continue to work with Congress, and certainly with members of the Appropriations Committee to make sure we're articulating as clearly as we can what we need.
I think part of it, too, our responsibility is to make sure we stay with the timetable, Congress becomes frustrated, understandably, when we don't make the timetable, and I have think sometimes that causes funding to be not as forthcoming. We'll continue to work with Congress to find those dollars.
Mr. PASCRELL. Now my favorite subject, the air traffic control system.
Ms. GARVEY. Yes.
Mr. PASCRELL. The air traffic controllers, we have read a lot about what happened since 1981, and the commitments that were made and were not kept by various past administrations.
If we are going to talk about safety, the public safety, then we need to talk about the controllers, whether we have enough controllers, whether they are adequately trained and certified.
It's not good enough to have enough controllers and they not be totally certified. We had that in the past, you know, so we are past the day and age of binoculars out windows, checking weather.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are not past the very serious situation in terms of our air traffic controllers. By September of this year, Newark will fall below the required number of air traffic controllers, and through the system, in the Metropolitan area, there is a tremendous amount of overtime that these individuals, male and female, have to put into place, and what is happening is what's happening to our nurses in our hospitals. It isn't working. And there is a tremendous shortfall and shortage of nurses.
There is a tremendous shortfall of certifiable and certified air traffic controllers.
These people are on long hours and do not enhance safety.
No more than what enhances safety is planes stacking up at Newark Airport reaching up to almost Connecticut and Massachusetts. This is unacceptable. We need to cut through the red tape to get this changed, as well as the air traffic controller system itself.
What are you doing? What is the FAA doing to address that problem, not only in our specific area but throughout the United States of America to respond to the promises that were never kept in the 1981 fiasco, and we are reliving it now.
Ms. GARVEY. Congressman, first of all, I would absolutely agree. I think we have the best air traffic controllers in the world. They do a heroic job, particularly here in this area they work very, very hard.
We arrived at a number in the controller contract of 15,000. We have kept to that. We are working very, very closely with the air traffic controllers to look at the retirement numbers.
I think you have suggested that in your question. It's been 20 years since we had the PATCO strike. A number of those people that were hired at that time are reaching retirement age.
We have a very aggressive hiring program and we actually agree with the controllers until about 2006. We have got a slight difference of opinion, 2006 and beyond. We are on track, meeting with them, working with them about what kind of training is needed.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think we are, I know we are very much aware of the problem. And I think we have a very aggressive, good plan in place to really rehire. We have plans to hire almost 1,000 within the next year, to keep pace with those retirement numbers.
Training is very important, and I think we are doing extraordinarily well with training.
I want to make one note. I think if you were to look at one difference between where we are in our relationship with the controllers today than we were five years ago or ten years ago, you need only look at our modernization efforts.
We have air traffic controllers designing this system with us. We have 65 ongoing modernization programs.
Air traffic controllers are part of those design teams, an integral part. We know in order to modernize the system, we have to have the users involved as well. And they are.
I think we have got probably the best relationship we have ever had with the air traffic controller organization and I am pleased to say that.
Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, let me say this. Let me get my commercial in.
I really believe that Administrator Garvey should ask for an extension of her contract. If she was a baseball player, we would do that. You have done a great job in cutting through the bureaucracy, which is three-quarters of the problems that we face, is the bureaucracy, the red tape, the inattention to the public, inattention to the air traffic controllers.
And I really believe this, and say this. And you know me, I like to wrestle with the bureaucratic alligators down there in D.C., I think you have done a tremendous job in being up-front to us, and I commend you for that.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MICA. Thank the gentleman.
Part of the problem we have had, I believe we had five administrators in five years. I think you have been the only source of stability.
Ms. GARVEY. Still standing. Unbelievable.
Mr. MICA. We do appreciate your working with us.
Let me yield to Ms. Kelly at this point.
Mrs. KELLY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DeCota, I want to thank you for your hospitality at the airports over this weekend. Certainly I learned a great deal by actually going up in the towers and driving around on the tarmac and looking at the problems that we have in all of the major airports.
It's obvious that this is a complex problem. The public wants to fly, and airlines want to make a profit, and there are many people, probably some in this room, who have pensions that are invested in the airlines stocks and they want to make sure that the airlines make a profit.
Land space in this area is obviously very limited and we have, as we heard Mr. Rothman say, locals who object to the noise, they're concerned about environmental issues and so on.
It is a very complex group of, constellation of problems, really. And I am very interested that, Ms. Garvey, in your testimony you have offered some very concrete things and we talked about a few of them, like redesigning airspace, deploying new technology.
I do want to say, Mr. Pascrell, there are airports in the United States that are still using binoculars.
Mr. PASCRELL. That's right.
Mrs. KELLY. We are still in the binocular age.
Constructing new runways and airports that can tolerate it, new procedures to improve the management of delays across the United States, I knowit's interesting, those of us who travel on the shuttles frequently have found ourselves sometimes flying as far out as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in order to get in, but those new routes that you are working out with the military have been very good.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I do want to go back to the fact that Stewart Airport is a regional airport, and one of the commitments I don't see in testimony that you have given us today, Ms. Garvey, is a commitment to looking at our regional airports and utilizing them to relay a lot of the source of congestion in these more constricted airspaces.
I would like to see a study and commit to doing that.
I also appreciate your commitment on the record that you will come up to Stewart Airport and take a look with me, we'll walk, we'll take a look at it.
This is one way we can do this now. We can offer immediate relief to some of the airport congestion here if we can only put it in place.
One of the reasons we can do that is that Stewart isn't a part of the metropolitan airport airspace. Stewart occupiesthe aircraft take off in a different airspace, so that we are not, we don't have the same impact in all of the traffic patterns out of Stewart.
And, Mr. Rothman, since I represent the maximum amount of Stewart, I am glad to hear you talked to other people, because it's nice to hear that people around Stewart also want it.
We are very concerned about the fact that people are forgetting that that is a possibility for really quickly relieving some of this congestion.
Thank you very much.
Mr. MICA. Mr. Clement, next.
Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have just two questions.
Administrator Garvey, the FAA recently published a federal register regarding options to ease congestion at LaGuardia Airport.
Can you explain some of the options being considered and how can we ensure that any market-based approach, such as congestion pricing, would not disadvantage small carriers and small communities.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. GARVEY. Congressman, let me start with the last part of your question first.
I think there are five options identified in the federal register that we have asked for comments on and for each one of those, we posed the question of whether there should be some sort of a set-aside, or a waiver, or a carve-out for access to small communities for a certain number of airlines that would be serving small communities, or for the start-up carriers, so we would encourage competition.
So I think we have been very mindful of those public policy questions.
I will also add that we worked very closely with the Port Authority, particularly on the two demand management strategies. Those really are economically based.
One is a congestion pricing option, which essentially says that in order to land at LaGuardia, because it's such a prime landing place, that there would be higher landing fees.
So that is the congestion pricing one.
There are variations of it that we asked for comments on.
The other is an auction, which again recognizes that there needs to be some sort of a set-aside for small communities, or for start-up carriers and it also gives a certain base number to all of the airlines that are now serving LaGuardia, but then asks for about 30 percent of the slos to be auctioned off.
In each case, there is a cap as others have suggested, of 159 slots. We are not going above the number that we have today, because we think at that number, we are able to manage those delays that occur today. So we are looking for as many comments as possible.
My sense is at the end of the day, the outcome may be some variation of the proposals.
We also put in the federal register three administrative solutions, which are not pricing mechanisms, but much more streamlining of the high density rules that are in place, that is in place today.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are looking for comments to see what the public thinks. We raised questions about what will happen with the money if we go for a pricing strategy.
My sense is probably at the end of the day there will be some variation of it. I suspect that people will make very good comments that will help us to determine the right policy.
It's a complicated, difficult issue, though.
Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. DeCota, you sure have some fine people that work with you that I have met.
I did want to follow-up on what Congressman Pascrell was asking you about that 7,000-foot runway. And that was one way, you know, we can avoid delays.
But also I wanted to ask you about gates, at Newark, as well as Kennedy and LaGuardia and wherever.
Airlines control the gates. You have a gate that is open or many gates that are open, but yet the airline doesn't give you access to that gate and the Port Authority does not have the authority to say to the airline we need to utilize that gate, even though it's not being utilized at all.
Has that been a problem at the past here and what have you suggested that would solve that problem, if it is a problem?
Mr. DECOTA. Well, thank you, Congressman.
Thank you also especially for your compliment to the staff. I share your opinion. They are a fine group of people dealing with difficult problems in a creative way.
Let me talk about the gate situation first. Once deregulation of the airline industry occurred in 1978, we had to deal with the fact there was a great deal of repetitivity of change inherent in the reform legislation.
We did take back a number of the gates. We did lease them on 30-day short-term tendencies. Many of the facilities at LaGuardia are, in fact, on short-term leases.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We put ''use it or lose it'' requirements for many of the gates so that if carriers weren't operating schedules at a certain predefined levels, we would be able to take back those gates.
We have something called the requesting airlines clause in Newark's leases, which says if a carrier wants access to the airport, it can go to the airlines and try to get space, and if they can't get space, that we would then try to intervene on their behalf.
Despite all of those efforts, it is true that there ends up being some friction in the system when somebody wants to have access and someone else used bond money or their own money in order to deal with those.
We are getting much more aggressive recognizing the need to try to enhance and promote competition and make maximum utilization of those gates.
I think one of things you will see is we have been successful, that our gates turn a large number of times. At LaGuardia, for instance, probably turns as many as eight times a day, which is fairly significant utilization.
New carriers like Jet Blue would like to use gates ten times a day. That would be our goal for every one of the domestic gates.
International gates turn less. There are a lot more people on the plane that have to be unloaded. Also, you have to clean and put food on the plane.
They're fewer, but that is something that we are acutely aware of, that there is only very limited opportunities to expand gates at our airports.
You have seen some of those opportunities, like at Newark Airport with Continental Airlines, some of the improvements at Kennedy, so the goal is to make the most utilization of the gate facility.
As to your question about the 7,000-foot runway, the number of movements on that runway during typical days is really not very significant, and as a result of Congressman Pascrell's request, we'll take a look at that and report back to this Committee.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MICA. Thank you.
Mr. FOSSELLA. Thank you.
I just focus again on what tangible, real accomplishments we can have. I think Congressman Pascrell mentioned the 7,000-foot runway. I'm curious as to why, what prevents, say today, for example at Newark, prevents planes from departing from that 7,000-foot runway.
Ideally, let's suppose the other runway was closed down.
Mr. DECOTA. In that case they would use them.
It comes down to, Congressman, in the case of an airport operator, we provide physical infrastructure. Airports are an exchange point to get people and cargo out of land vehicles into air vehicles by way of cargo buildings and terminals.
The airport operator is providing the infrastructure to the extent possible within the space that we are able to.
Ultimately, the aircraft routing decisions are a function of the FAA air traffic control system, and the decision as to what runway to use is usually a joint effort of the controller and of the pilot.
Pilots will generally request the longest runway possible, just as a safety measure. If there is a 10,000-foot runway available, they will request the 10,000-foot runway.
If it's not available, certainly the 7,000-foot runway is and we would use it intensively at times, when the weather would dictate, or construction, but in normal procedure, the pilots would request the longer runway.
There is also, in the case of the air traffic controllers, the additional workload and issues engendered by handling simultaneous operations on intersecting runways, since you will be basically coordinating arrivals and departures in two runways that intersect and are perpendicular.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FOSSELLA. I'm sure this will be disclosed more fully in the report that you will prepare.
Administrator Garvey, do you agree that the straight-out departure from New York to the south is the most efficient departure that you can have from Newark Airport?
Ms. GARVEY. I'm not the technical expert to answer that question, nor do we have anyone here today.
Mr. FOSSELLA. Are you aware of a 1980 study of the FAA that demonstrated, the conclusion was a straight-out departure was the most efficient departure?
Ms. GARVEY. I have been told a little bit about that study, and I know that some of the issues and one of the reasons that we wanted to do the scoping work now is because obviously things have changed since 1980. We felt it was important to take a look it in the context of today's reality.
I know, as you have pointed out and as I know you know, and the Committee knows, that we look at efficiency but also have to look at what the impacts are in terms of noise, and what the impacts are in terms of safety and so forth.
All of which we are taking into account as we sort through what is a very complex issue for us.
Mr. FOSSELLA. Is there anything that prevents a real live test of a straight-out departure?
Ms. GARVEY. Again, I talked with our folks about that. I know it's been a real concern of yours and an issue that you care deeply about.
From the perspective of folks that have taken a look at it within the FAA, we think, with the kind of modeling that we have now, which is pretty sophisticated, we use Mitre Corporation a great deal, and the kind of modeling that they can now do, and the kind of permeations and so forth that they are able to factor into a model, we think that the modeling will give us the kind of information that we need. And as our staff has briefed you, we are fully prepared to do that.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FOSSELLA. There is nothing that prevents you from doing a real live test?
Ms. GARVEY. I guess I would want to ask folks whether there are safety implications. I know they feel very strongly that the modeling is very good, and I defer to their judgment.
Mr. FOSSELLA. For the record, there is nothing that prevents you?
Ms. GARVEY. I don't think there is anything that prevents it, no.
Mr. FOSSELLA. The issue is that this is not something new and it comes before you and 15 of your predecessors, and as I alluded to in the opening remarks, as you know we have landed on the moon, the Berlin Wall has fallen, the Mets played the Yankees last year, all these wonderful things have taken place, and yet after all these years, we still cannot get even a month of a real live test of a straight-out departure.
And I think it's really, of all the things, and I know you have a lot of responsibility, just not the right thing, and I would love to get a commitment from you to do a real live test of a straight-out departure.
Can you do that?
Ms. GARVEY. I certainly will get you a commitment to get the kind of information you need from a real live test, which we believe we can get from modeling, but I would like to go back and talk to our folks a little bit more about it.
Mr. FOSSELLA. Mr. Chairman, for the people I represent, I think it would have been great to have it a long time ago.
I will yield back.
Mr. MICA. Next to Mr. Nadler, member of transportation, and then we'll get to you.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NADLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have a couple questions of each of the two witnesses.
Let me take Mr. DeCota first.
Mr. DeCota, you mentioned before the rather low, I think you said 77 passengers per plane average, passenger load at LaGuardia, which is the most congested airport.
To what extent is the presence at LaGuardia Airport of general aviation of private passenger planes, not scheduled airliners, to what extent does that add to that very low figure?
And would it be a good idea to what are the pros and cons of saying that no such flights, only regularly scheduled airline flights at LaGuardia and get those other flights to other airports?
Mr. DECOTA. General aviation, Congressman, was not in the average number. I was using commercial aircraft with commercial passengers.
Mr. NADLER. If you had general aviation, it would be a much lower number.
Mr. DECOTA. If you added that in, yes.
In fact, under the high density slot rule, six movements per hour were set aside for general aviation out of the total 68 movement per hour at the airport pre AIR-21.
Mr. NADLER. So about 20 percent?
Mr. DECOTA. About 10 percent of the movements were GA, only three of them per hour on average are used. So it's probably 5 percent, but if general aviation did not operate at LaGuardia, certainly that would free up 5 percent of the capacity at LaGuardia for additional commercial flights.
Mr. NADLER. Are there any reasons why that wouldn't be a good idea, other than the convenience of the few passengers in general aviation?
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DECOTA. I guess we would have to look at exactly where they would operate. A number of those flights are important business trips by people coming to New York for reasons that would be hard for me to guess.
I think we would have to evaluate exactly where they would locate, but assuming it would not take that business away from New York in terms of the commerce that occurs here, from a purely LaGuardia standpoint, it has a very big benefit.
Mr. NADLER. Could you accommodate some of them at Kennedy, which is less congested than LaGuardia?
Mr. DECOTA. I don't think it would be desirable to redistribute them to Kennedy. We would have to look at other regional airports.
Mr. NADLER. Why would it not be desirable?
Mr. DECOTA. Kennedy is already handling about 365,000 plane movements. It's the airport where we have some capacity to grow.
There are major investments being made by carriers like American Airlines, Delta Airlines, et cetera.
Mr. NADLER. So you are looking in other places.
The second question is, Congressman Kelly, who I don't think is still here, suggested that repeatedly and some others also that Stewart Airport, which is 55 or 60 miles away from New York, could take a lot of traffic away from some of the congested airports.
How realistic is that in your opinion? Why hasn't that happened?
I recall people talking about that for the last 30 years. I remember Governor Rockefeller talking about Stewart as our former Governor Rockefeller, may he rest in peace, as our fourth jetport.
What has prevented that from happening and what will prevent that from happening, if anything?
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DECOTA. I think there are a lot of factors.
We are very blessed in this region with a wonderful regional airport system. Airports like MacArthur, airports like Stewart Airport, even going out as far as Allentown, Bethlehem airport, there are a lot of airports that lie on the fringe of this region that have the potential to serve growth.
Frankly, that is very beneficial because a lot of the growth in these regions are on the fringes of the regions.
Long term, they certainly provide for an alternative.
Short term, I think the issue really is they are not located where people are right now. So access certainly probably is one of the issues as to why people don't go there.
I think another issue is the chicken and the egg story, which is what comes first, the passengers or the service?
Right now, there is not a lot of air service up at the airport. I believe it's three-quarters of a million passengers.
While Congressman Kelly pointed out they could serve additional passengers, airlines have not chosen to schedule service there.
Without a reasonable density of air service and with some reasonable airfares, it's not likely people are going to make the decision to go all the way up to Stewart.
Mr. NADLER. Is there anything the Port Authority or the government could do that would in your opinion materially, in a reasonable period of time, materially shift some of the burden from the congested airports to Stewart, or is that maybe just some day it will happen, but we have to wait and see?
Mr. DECOTA. I think it deserves a very fresh look by people at the Port Authority and others.
The Port Authority was very involved probably about 15 years ago when Stewart was beginning to develop some plans for its future growth. It worked with the Department of Transportation. It's now a privatized airport.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have within the past few months been up there looking at the facilities.
I think, Congressman, the question could best be answered after a lot of us get to sit together, look at the situation, look at where the population shifts have occurred, look at the access situation and maybe come back and report on that.
Mr. NADLER. Thank you very much.
Administrator Garvey, as you are aware, in the AIR-21 bill, we mandated that the FAA conduct a study of the effect of helicopter noise on individuals in densely populated areas.
That report was supposed to have been submitted by now and has been delayed.
I also understand that the methods used in the report did not, in fact, measure the effects of noise on individuals, but rather the total noise produced, and also that appropriate community members, who had a wealth of information to contribute, were not interviewed.
Can you ensure us, number one, that that study before it is released will, in fact, study not only how many decibels the helicopters produce, but what the effect of that is on community and on people as the legislation states and that the people in the community who have volunteered a lot of information on this will, in fact, be interviewed?
Ms. GARVEY. Congressman, absolutely. We'll make sure of that.
I think you accurately described what had happened. We did some work in noise, but it wasn't as full or complete as it should be.
I'm scheduled to be briefed within the next two weeks on the work that has been done since we have gone back to revise the report, and I will be in very close communication with your office and make sure we have talked to the right people.
Mr. NADLER. You anticipate when the report is finally released it will have that kind of analysis?
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. GARVEY. Absolutely. I thought the points you raised, both with us individually and raised by others were right on target.
Mr. NADLER. When do you expect the report, as revised, might be expected?
Ms. GARVEY. We would like to get to it to Congress as soon as we can, but I tell you, I think I can give you a better answer after I have had my briefing.
I would like to be sure we really have done it the way Congress intended.
Mr. NADLER. Thank you.
When we talk about helicopters to New York City, and to the Port Authority, they all tell us they have no authority to regulate them and we should talk to the FAA.
But the FAA says that below a certain height, I think it's 1,500, 2,500 feet, they have no, you have no authority.
Do you believe it might be desirable for Congress to legislate, to add regulatory authority to the FAA or someone else, perhaps, to deal with helicopters in congested areas, because apparently nobody has authority to regulate them within certain areas.
Ms. GARVEY. That may be something that would make a great deal of sense. I would like to work with our staff and then work with you.
I have been aware of the minimum requirement, and there may be something more we can do within our own regulatory powers.
I would like to look at that first, but if not we certainly will work with Congress to see if that would make sense.
Mr. NADLER. I would welcome your conclusion as to whether it might be desirable to addI have my own opinions, but I would welcome your recommendation as to what type of extra regulatory authority would be appropriate.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask unanimous consent, that permission to submit testimony be given to Manhattanon this hearing be given to Manhattan Community Board 7 to Dr. Eileen Bronzaft and to Diana Schneider of ROAR, Residents Opposed to Airport Racket.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MICA. Without objection, those statements will be made part of the record.
Also, Mr. Pascrell moves that the record for the Subcommittee be kept open for 30 days for additional submission.
Without objection, so ordered.
Mr. NADLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MICA. Let me recognize first Mr. Doolittle and then we'll get to Ms. Maloney.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Thank you very much. I have a question for both of you.
I am aware that there are time restrictions at John Wayne Airport in Southern California as to when flights can land, and the planes do fly up the Potomac River, and I am guessing that is for noise concerns at the Reagan National Airport.
Both of those things there are as a result of an FAA regulation, is that right?
Ms. GARVEY. It's working very closely with the airports.
There are some obvious criteria required before an airport puts certain restrictions in place because of the whole issue of access which were very clearly outlined it in '91 legislation.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. But they can only do that if you allow.
Ms. GARVEY. Yes. One exception is if there is a unanimous agreement at an airport with the airlines, with the airport authority, and very often with the government that controls the airport. We generally would support that.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. You are not obligated to support that.
Ms. GARVEY. I guess not obligated, but I can't think of a time when we haven't.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In lieu of that kind of agreement, you would have to go through a process in order to put those restrictions in place.
Mr. DECOTA. We have some restrictions, Congressman, in place at our airports. They all predate 1990 when Congress passed the aircraft noise and capacity act, which basically preempted local airport operator authority and control over those decisions.
As the administrator described, there is now a federal process, FAR Part 161, it's a very difficult process to maneuver through, and not many airports have been successful.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. May I just ask the administrator as to the, do you have the flexibility to make that less difficult or is that somehow just set up in the statute itself?
Ms. GARVEY. Congressman, if you ask several people, you get a different answer.
There is always something more we can do to make something easier.
Having said that, I think the '91 legislation was also pretty clear that Congress wanted to be careful that there was not a real balkanization of rules throughout the country, and recognition we're talking about a whole system and we had to have access through what was clearly a national system.
I think there's always more we can do to make something less bureaucratic, but I think the bar is set pretty high.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Is there a Potomac River type solution that would dramatically improve the noise situation for some of these airports around here?
Mr. DECOTA. Airspace redesign certainly has some potential for that. There are a number of options that are being considered.
I am not the person to talk best on it, but I will talk from the airport operator's perspective.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of the ideas that is being considered right now is called the four corners approach, bringing traffic into this region. It would bring it in through basically four corners of a box and also let them depart that way.
It would keep aircraft much higher before it has to descend into the airport. It would also allow them to rise to their ultimate ascent much more quickly.
Airspace redesign, with the help of global positioning satellites, which we have these constellations of satellites right now circumnavigating the earth, can more precisely pinpoint flight tracks so they're over areas that are less populated.
You can give flights much more precision.
I think there is an airspace redesign and air traffic control fix that helps a great deal in terms of the noise posture of the region.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Is his straight-out approach.
Mr. DECOTA. I'm not that familiar with his approach. It would be guided ultimately if we use satellites in flight management systems in aircraft by that kind of technology.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. I guess just lastly, it seems like if John Wayne Airport, I think no flight can take off or land after 11:00, at LaGuardia, Mr. Crowley mentioned there is one that lands at 1:55 a.m., that does seem extraordinary.
Mr. DECOTA. We have sent letters repeatedly asking them for voluntary compliance with some time limitations, not to start flights before 6:00 in the morning and not to operate flights after 11:00, 10:00 at night.
Obviously, that's not been adhered to by the airlines and without an independent ability to put in any kind of controls like that, the airlines are free to operate those flights as they wish.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Unless the FAA issued a ruling or something?
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DECOTA. Or if the airport operator could successfully meander through the Part 161 process, which is not an easy process to go through.
Mr. MICA. Thank you, gentleman.
Now recognize the gentlelady from New York, Ms. Maloney.
Mrs. MALONEY. Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. DeCota, for your hospitality to the entire delegation.
It's always great to see you, Administrator Garvey.
I would like a unanimous consent to place in the record a draft letter that I am actually sending you on the helicopter noise.
I was pleased when this subcommittee included one of my bills in HR-1000 that called for the study on helicopter noise in densely populated areas and to get back within a year.
As my colleague pointed out, your first proposals were studying the types of helicopters that elicit negative responses from individuals, not the effect of noise on individuals, so we are calling on you to go back to the mandate of this committee of Congress in this particular study.
Mr. MICA. Without objection, the letter requested by the gentlelady will be made part of the record.
Mrs. MALONEY. I would like to go back to a theme that many members in this committee have raised repeatedly, and that really was the distress that many of us had in New York when AIR-21 loosened the restrictions on the high density rule.
As a response of that, we had airlines apply for more than 600 additional flights coming into the already overcrowded LaGuardia.
Many of us protested, and the delegation joined in a bipartisan way, Mayor Giuliani and Clair Shulman in a lawsuit, which really called, stated that there was a violation that the U.S. DOT did not require an environmental impact statement before allowing literally hundreds of new flights to be added at New York's airports.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like to ask, is that general operating procedure not to have an EIS? Should we require by law that an EIS be required when adding 600 additional air slots in one area was extreme, particularly in an overcrowded area.
I might note this case is still pending in court.
Because of many adjustments that you have mentioned, Administrator Garvey, now we have approximately 300 daily flights at LaGuardia alone, but because of these new flights, I got to tell you, that the 600 New York daily flights at LaGuardia represented a daily increase of more than 50 percent for LaGuardia.
I mean, this was really, really an extreme action, and because of the additional flights, whether it's 300 or 600, in September of 2000, there were more than 9,000 flight delays at LaGuardia, which constituted more than 25 percent of the flight delays in the United States, and really we have become sort of the laughing stock of the country.
You read headlines in L.A. And ''Welcome to LaGuardia. Welcome to a long delay.'' Everyone is talking about it.
But I would like to go back to another theme of some of my colleagues on this committee, when they said, and I agree, at the very least, why can't we have truth in advertising about these delays?
Now the procedure is the minute the plane leaves the gate, it is now ''on-time.'' You could be sitting out there six, sometimes eight, sometimes ten hours, and still they will say that plane was on-time.
At the very least, I would like to change the standard, that the time you take off is whether or not you were on-time. Then they would be a little more honest to business travelers who have to be at meetings, they can say to you, you better go get on a train or rent a car if you need to get to Washington or wherever on time, this plane is going to be stalled.
But I would like to know who came up with the idea that you are on time the minute you board the plane and it moves away from the gate, even though you may wait two days.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Can't we change it to the time you take off? Then I think that would help passengers a great deal plan their own time and I think that you would see a lot of people maybe going to other forms of transportation once they realize that they have got to sit on that plane and wait.
I don't think anybody who has commuted back and forth like we do daily, weekly, all of us have been sitting at least six, eight hours on those planes waiting to take off.
Again, thank you for your testimony, your time, all of your work with the committee.
Ms. GARVEY. Let me start on the last question.
You asked about the issue about information, and we absolutely agree. Getting accurate information to the passenger is very critical.
The Department of Transportation and your Consumer Affairs office, along with BTS, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, deals with collecting all of the on-time information.
We work very closely with them. I know the Secretary's office is looking at the whole issue about how we determine the on-time performance of airlines. They are really dealing with the very issue that you have talked about.
Mrs. MALONEY. Why can't we just change to it the time you take off? What's so difficult?
Ms. GARVEY. I hesitate to answer for the department but I will try.
I think part of the rationale has been from the passenger's perspective, they really care a lot about when they get there. Maybe the answer is to give both times. Maybe there is something where you have to account for both.
I understand what you are saying. If you are stuck on the tarmac for a period of time, that is frustrating as well.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, the Department of Transportation is working very closely with the Bureau of Transportation statistics to look at all of the issues of on-time performance.
I will add one piece in terms of information because the Chairman was so helpful and instrumental as well.
We have what I think is a pretty sophisticated web site, very customer friendly where you can access information about where the ground delays are going to be, and how long they're going to be. It's up-to-date, it's real-time information. You can get access to it on your e-mail before you even leave home.
If you are out traveling, with the Chairman's help, we have worked with CNN so we are providing that information in the airports as well.
It's a step. For us, it's very different because we have not always been focused on some of those issues, but I think it has been a plus.
The environmental impact statement which you asked about in terms ofagain, I don't like to answer for the Department, but the legal interpretation was that given the way the legislation was written, they felt that requesting an EIS was not appropriate.
I'm sorry I can't give you all legal reasons for it, but I would be happy to have someone from the Department get back to you.
Mrs. MALONEY. When you are increasing the number of flights 50 percent, wouldn't you agree that that is a tremendous safety and environmental impact? I would say safety, more than environmental.
Ms. GARVEY. No one anticipated those numbers. I think that was quite, in many ways, unexpected.
Frankly, that is exactly why we stepped in with the lottery, with the Port Authority. It was very clear from our perspective that there is a lot of debate about what legal authority did the Port Authority have, what legal authority did the FAA have.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our view was if you are stuck on a tarmac for two or three hours, you're not asking the question who has legal authority, you just want something done.
From our perspective, stepping in with the lottery was the way to deal with it. Again, not the long-term solution, but we felt it really was the right step at the time.
Mrs. MALONEY. And I understand that cap is now under a lawsuit, that some of the airlines are now suing.
I would like to go back to really the original question that the Chairman asked that I think comes to the very crux of what we are talking about.
Who has the authority?
When I meet with many people with the FAA, they will say to me the fact that it increased 50 percent, that is not our fault. Our job is to create air travel, not to in any way limit it.
So no one will assume responsibility.
Now you have a lawsuit because you have done what I think is the right thing, 600 flights out of LaGuardia is just plain too much, but do we need to legislate that you do in fact have the authority, the Port Authority or whomever, to have caps, to have lotteries.
Do we need to make this clear because we seem to be in a bowl of jelly of everybody pointing fingers at everyone else.
We all know that litigation is not time efficient or cost efficient. Maybe we need the guidelines that the Chairman raised in the very beginning, do we need legislation to expressly state that FAA and not Port Authority have the ability to limit flights for safety reasons, quality of life reasons, environmental reasons, whatever.
Mr. DECOTA. I would like to answer that as the airport operator.
I do believe that we do have certain proprietary rights which are clear. In scoping out some of the things that we put in the Federal Register, it's clear they have some authority over the administrative measures, over the pricing issues.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If you look at the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978, and you look at all of the airlines were given the freedom to price products, to enter markets, to exit markets, fail to succeed to manage their own business plans, there is only a couple of provisions in there with regard to airport operator proprietary rights.
One is a sentence that says no one should do anything to interfere with the smooth workings of deregulation.
Another sentence says nothing here should contravene or should contradict any rights that airport operators have.
It was never really clear what rights they have.
There are a lot of rules, regulations, statutes that we are all governed by. Some say fair and reasonable access to airlines without unjust discrimination and processes like that, the Department of Transportation has their rates and changes rules.
There are a lot of things out there that have been evolutionary in their interpretation, but I do think there is still a lot of question and some vagary and in answer directly to you question, yes, I think airport operators do need in a environment like this a greater degree of control over local affairs to deal with unique situations.
Every situation is not the same in every single airport.
Mr. MICA. Let me recognize the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Rothman.
Mr. ROTHMAN. The airport noise and capacity act, the act that Mr. DeCota just referred to that occurred in '78?
Mr. DECOTA. '78. Airport noise was '90.
Mr. ROTHMAN. I guess they probably did some good things, but they certainly created some ambiguity and had some significant omissions which in my opinion, now given the latest of those two laws 11 years later, are causing us a lot of problems.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When I say ''us,'' I mean in particular other than the major regional airports, there is a whole slew of them, hundreds and hundreds all over the country, where we find that airport operators' proprietary rights are in this netherworld, and we are constantly told that nobody has the ability to override or to establish clarity; not the FAA, not the airport operators, and it has to fall to an act of Congress.
So I would say to my colleagues on the panel here, perhaps we're noticing, and I am going to be asking Mr. DeCota and Administrator Garvey, perhaps we can discern a consensus, if you will, that there is a need for new legislation to give airport operators within certain constraints some greater clarity about what they can and cannot do.
For example, it was pointed out that the planes coming into Washington in and out fly over the Potomac River and that some airports close at 10:00 or 11:00.
As Administrator Garvey pointed out, those airports where those regulations were in place by 1990.
Since 1990, correct me if I am wrong, no airport in the country, no airport in the country has succeeded in having the local owner/operator create any kind of curfew or noise standards, noise abatement programs. None.
That's because the 161 study, for example, under the 1990 ANCA law makes it almost impossible, and those communities that have tried to access to get control through 161 have all, all, all, failed.
So I would think we need some legislation.
Having said all of that, and just reminding my colleagues maybe you don't know, I have a bill before this session as I did the last session to give the 20 largestthe airports in the 20 largest metropolitan regions in America the opportunity to phase out stage one and stage two aircraft, jet aircraft.
As you know, in the large airports, they are already phased out as of 1990, but not aircraft under 100,000 pounds, and stage one and stage two aircraft cause 85 percent of the noise violations at Teterboro Airport. Stage one and stage two.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We can't do anything about it, some people say, because the 1990 ANCA law created the omission of general aviation aircraft requiring the requirement for stage three engines.
We are in limbo and at the mercy of the kindness and cooperation of those who are trying to go on a limb.
I hope my colleagues will work with me on that law.
I would like to ask Mr. DeCota, do you think there needs to be a change or some new law, like ANCA which would create a better balance, provide a better balance for airport operators to work within, to give relief to communities, to provide access to interstate commerce, but create a better balance and more certainly for you operators.
Mr. DECOTA. Yes, Congressman. I believe that we need to have some greater degree of flexibility in order to accomplish a lot of very important things.
You mentioned the bill that you introduced, to deal with the phase-out of noisy aircraft weighing under 75,000 pounds since that was not dealt with at all under the aircraft noise and capacity act.
That is certainly a concern of all of ours that there are jet aircraft flying into airports like Teterboro, that create 85 percent of the noise energy, and yet there is nothing really that the local airport operator can do successfully despite the fact of our mutual best efforts to try to make that happen.
So, I think there are areas where we need some either clarification of existing rules and regulations or some expanded proprietary powers to deal with situations.
A situation that certainly vexed a number of us was the LaGuardia situation when we enacted the moratorium on additional flights.
We spent a lot of time talking to the airlines, about tell us what your scheduled plans are, try to voluntarily reschedule your flights, maybe reschedule them to other airports like Kennedy where there's more capacity, in really desperation we put in place the moratorium.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We were subsequently told that that probably was an illegal act. Fortunately, the FAA worked very quickly with us under their authority to put in the lottery that now exists.
That is a very difficult situation to be an airport operator confronted with the crisis situation we had, but having been told there was nothing we could do to control the situation.
Mr. ROTHMAN. Let me say this, with due respect, I'm not aware that the FAA has yet ever, since 1990, stepped in as they did with the LaGuardia Airport situation and backed up the local airport operators' decision or desire to regulate the numbers of flights or the level of noise coming from the engines.
I am not aware that the FAA has ever done that since 1990, and my guess is, and you can correct me if I am wrong, I am presuming it's not because you don't understand that tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people, whose lives could be improved without cost to interstate commerce, but you feel in some way your hands are tied by the 1990 law, unless you want these hundreds of thousands of people to suffer, and you do in fact have the discretion which has heretofore been denied by the FAA.
Ms. GARVEY. I think you've described the legislation well. I think for us it's the great balance, it's the great challenge of trying to be very mindful of what is a federal prerogative in terms of keeping a national airspace system intact, and also allowing the kinds of access that we have all come to expect, but at the same time to balance it against the very important noise issue.
I think there may be some more flexibility that we could all look to. One of the approaches we are taking--this is really a strategic decision, over which we had a lot of discussions with the Port Authority and with the Secretary's office as well--should we ask about the legal issues in the Federal Register? Should we pose some of the legal questions?
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC After a lot of discussion, we decided that we would not put the legal questions into this Federal Register notice because we were afraid it would get so bogged down, because these are complex and difficult issues. We said let's first try to have a full and open discussion on what the right public policy is.
Once we have decided on the right public policy, then we can go back to Congress and say here's where legal issues remain troublesome to us, and ask for your guidance.
Mr. ROTHMAN. I want to applaud your decision to back up the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at LaGuardia. That was the right thing to do.
Admittedly you were out on a legal limb when you did it, but you said, damn the torpedoes, we're going to do what's right. There is a crisis here.
I don't think you can continue to operate in that environment where you are on very dangerous legal ground because the 1990 law isn't sufficient to deal with the realities of 2001 and beyond.
I want to congratulate you for that, but I want to see if Congress can give you and the operators of these airports the ability to do what you know is right, but what your lawyers tell you is very treacherous legal ground.
Finally, I'm looking forward to working with my colleague and friend, Congresswoman Sue Kelly on Stewart Airport and I know of her leadership on this issue which predates my involvement on this subject, and I want to work with her as well.
Mr. MICA. Thank you. We appreciate your participation, your cooperation and look forward to working with you to solve some of these real challenges we have heard here today.
Thank you Mr. DeCota for the hospitality and the site visits and I think that was most helpful for the members who attended the three airports and over-fly of Teterboro.
Again, we appreciate your cooperation.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Administrator Garvey, thank you also for working with us.
We may have additional questions for both of you. You heard the record will be open for 30 days and some questions were asked, we appreciate your response in a timely fashion.
I will excuse both of the witnesses at this time. Thank you again.
Let me call our third and final panel. We have two witnesses, one is Mr. Robert Hazel. Mr. Hazel is the vice president of properties and facilities with U.S. Airways.
Then we have John W. Olcott, president of the National Business Aviation Association.
As I said to the previous panelists, if you have lengthy statements or additional information you'd like to have made part of the record, we'll do that through the Chair in a unanimous consent request.
I appreciate your patience. We're going to allow you to present your testimony at this time.
Let me recognize first Robert Hazel, vice president U.S. Airways for properties and facilities.
Welcome, Mr. Hazel, and you are recognized.
TESTIMONY OF ROBERT HAZEL, VICE PRESIDENT, U.S. AIRWAYS
Mr. HAZEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee. Good morning.
I'm Bob Hazel, vice president properties and facilities, U.S. Airways. I'm here in place of Lawrence Nagin, our executive vice president and general counsel who unfortunately is unable to attend.
We have submitted written testimony which we ask be part of the record.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MICA. Without objection, the entire statement will be made part of the record.
Mr. HAZEL. U.S. Airways commends you for your leadership in holding such an important hearing here in New York City.
As a carrier that operates a substantial number of flights at LaGuardia with a root structure centered primarily in the eastern United States, U.S. Airways is keenly aware of just how disruptive congestion at the airport can be.
Our first goal and that of our customers is to see that we operate all of our flights safely and on time.
For this reason, we fully backed the decision of the FAA last fall to cap the number of hourly operations at LaGuardia and to allocate a limited number of AIR-21 slots to eligible carriers via lottery.
This was an appropriate response to the operational crisis then gripping the airport.
With the operational crisis that plagued LaGuardia last fall, now largely resolved, U.S. Airways supports the extension of last year's lottery system.
However, U.S. Airways has serious concerns with the FAA's long-term demand management proposals. Though certainly well-intentioned, these are regulatory actions that involve the reallocation of economic assets and impact fares to be paid, services to be provided and even the size of equipment to be utilized.
In our view, re-regulation of this kind is a matter for the U.S. Congress, not the province of an agency with the safety mandate.
For example, for the FAA to limit the number of aircraft on the taxiway is a safety matter. For the FAA to dictate how much carriers have to pay for operating rights, this constitutes economic regulation.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me briefly address some of the proposals under consideration.
At their core, they involve a reallocation of operating rights, the principle effect of which will be to disrupt existing established patterns of service, thereby jeopardizing small community operations and limiting consumer choice and convenience.
The notion that the various options outlined it the FAA's notice will in fact reduce congestion at LaGuardia is highly questionable and certainly unproven.
What is more certain, however, is that congestion based pricing in auction schemes will force carriers to raise fares with no improvement in service for customers.
Additionally, the reallocation of operating rights will significantly undermined, if not negate, the substantial involvement investment that carriers lie U.S. Airways have made to provide service to smaller communities throughout the eastern United States.
For decades, U.S. Airways has made small community service at LaGuardia a priority. Not withstanding the high cost involved in such short haul operations.
We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in LaGuardia to be able to provide such service. For many smaller communities such as Albany, New York, and Burlington, Vermont, among others, U.S. Airways is the only option they have for access to the LaGuardia market, and service for many of these smaller markets to LaGuardia is viable today only because these markets are served as part of a larger network.
U.S. Airways is neither a full scale global network carrier with abundant financial resources, nor is it a new entrant with special preferences.
Accordingly maintaining, the core of its operations, including those at LaGuardia, as it struggles to compete in the ever-increasing competitive environment on the East Coast, takes on a much greater significance for us.
There are five specific proposals in the FAA's notice, but where is the analysis of other options, such as the use of alternate regional airports.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The feasibility of expanding the air side or ground side capacity, the role of modernization of the ATC system, and the use of alternate facilities for general aviation, where are the data that show that congestion pricing and slot auctions will work at all to actually decrease the number of carrier operations.
Where is the analysis by the general accounting office? As Secretary Manetta has said, there is no quick fix available to deal with such a complex issue. Other options must be explored.
This is where your leadership, Mr. Chairman, is essential. Before we rush to judgment and implement proposals that will have many negative unintended consequences, a comprehensive approach to the LaGuardia situation must be developed that takes into account the benefits that airline deregulation has brought to consumers and does not interfere with consumer choice.
It must recognize the importance of sustaining economically viable service to smaller communities and it should also recognize the substantial long-term investment of carriers like U.S. Airways have made to develop their LaGuardia operations.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts today. I would be happy to answer my questions.
Mr. MICA. Thank you. We'll wait until we have heard from Mr. Olcott. Mr. Olcott is the president of the National Business Aviation Association.
Welcome, and you are recognized.
TESTIMONY OF JOHN W. OLCOTT, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BUSINESS AVIATION ASSOCIATION
Mr. OLCOTT. Thank you very much.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My name is Jack Olcott, president of the National Business Aviation Association. We represent the companies that use general aviation aircraft for business transportation, an area usually identified as business aviation.
Our member companies are the world's most active users of business aviation, yet they also purchase over $10 billion worth of airline tickets annually.
Like other key generators of jobs and revenue, NBAA member companies require safe and efficient transportation to produce profits for shareholders and keep America competitive.
Thus, NBAA members have a great interest in these weighty issues being discussed here today, and we wish to express our thanks to Chairman Mica and the members of this Committee for the opportunity to testify.
I request that my written testimony be submitted for the record and I would like to use my remaining time to make one observation.
Mr. MICA. Without objection, your entire statement will be made part of the record and please proceed.
Mr. OLCOTT. Thank you very much.
Throughout history, advances in economic development and quality of life have followed advances in transportation.
Before rail and air travel, before automobiles, waterways and wagon paths were the principal routes of travel.
It was a long such elements of transportation infrastructure that great cities emerged.
One can find no better example of that fact than this great city of New York, with its superb access to river and ocean, without which there might never have been New Amsterdam morphing into the financial and social capital of the world.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Today's main form of transportation for business is aviation. Aviation links rural America with major national and international centers, bringing the ebb and flow of commerce to the four corners of our nation.
In fact, the use of air transportation is so pervasive in our nation's daily lives that citizens take this significant national asset for granted.
Yet without safe and efficient air transportation, the economic well-being of every U.S. Citizen, whether they fly or not, would be compromised, as would the average person's quality of life.
Fresh California lettuce in New York markets. Cut flowers from Israel. Overnight mails. Deliverables from the internet marketers. Jobs in mid America.
All these characteristics of today's economy would be curtailed.
The awesome task before this Committee is to facilitate air transportation, not to constrain it. Mandates such as peak hour pricing, access restrictions and mandated minimum airplane size simply mask the true issue and exacerbate the problem of capacity.
Air transportation is an enabling technology for meeting our nation's social and economic objectives in the 21st Century. We must boldly explore ways to facilitate the flow of all aircraft safely, efficiently and economically.
Mandates, cost constraints and administrative quick fixes are questionable answers to these very important issues facing our nation.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I would be pleased to answer any questions.
Mr. MICA. Thank you, and I think you both raised some questions. You don't want to see imposition of some arbitrary constraints on business, air travel business or activity or access to markets, but in reality, we are dealing with a limited commodity.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So many airplanes, aircraft can take off and land per hour on so many runways.
I think you mentioned a little bit about the utilization of alternate airports in your testimony, Mr. Hazel. How do we get someone like U.S. Air to move more service to an alternate airport like Stewart?
Mr. HAZEL. Mr. Chairman, we do serve Stewart today. We also serve Islip, White Plains, as well as LaGuardia and Newark, so we do make use of the regional airports and we are not suggesting.
Mr. MICA. That wasn't the question.
The question is, and I am sure that is a limited number of people take off and landing, the only thing I have heard any unanimous consent on here is that we need to develop some reliever airports, and Stewart has been mentioned repeatedly.
What would make U.S. Airways utilize that to a greater extent than, say, LaGuardia, and the imposition of a slottery allows actually the locals and the airlines to sort of sort out the mix, but there are some caveats and I think everyone realizes we're going to have to have service to smaller communities for service.
But that literally puts a cap on the number of aircraft that can arrive and land at a place like LaGuardia.
How do we shift some of that service and capacity out to places again like Stewart?
Mr. HAZEL. I mentioned there is a simple answer to that.
The airlines will say and we'll say when there are passenger demands for flights from Stewart, we'll add more flights.
Mr. DeCota says it's the chicken or the egg. As there are more flights, more passengers will discover Stewart.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We're interested in Stewart. We're interested in other regional airports around the country.
Mr. MICA. Economic incentives?
Mr. HAZEL. Economic incentives are interesting.
To the extent that more people know about Stewart, to the extent that the airport is an attractive place to operate economically, we become more interested in regional facilities as well.
Mr. MICA. I think you all mentioned that you oppose some of the reregulation, but in fact, we are left with no alternative but to impose some type of slottery.
Not only in New York and several of its airports here, which are the most congested, but I think we're going to have to look at Chicago and Boston, and another six or seven of our most congested airports, where again, we have no choice, we can only land so many planes per hour if we're not going to built new runways.
Obviously, from our site visit here, we're not going to build any more runways.
Mr. Olcott, how would you respond?
Mr. OLCOTT. Chairman Mica, I would suggest that the importance of aviation to this country is so great we should never use the word ''never.''.
We should look at innovative solutions. Is it beyond the realm of possibility to add 1,200 feet to LaGuardia's runway 13?
Perhaps the initial answer is absolutely it's impossible, but however, runway 4 had an extension added to it into the bay.
The fact that LaGuardia has intersecting runways is an issue that should be addressed. Now, I am not saying that we have an instant answer. Absolutely not.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What I am saying is that we should never say ''never,'' and we should look at all possibilities, including ones that on the surface of things sound impossible.
Mr. MICA. Well, we drove LaGuardia, and we flew over LaGuardia yesterday, and then I have heard the testimony here today, and I can tell you sure as hell there ain't going to be no additional runways at LaGuardia.
I mean, that is a nice thought, and even if I had permits in hand today, with the litigious society we live in, I think it would be tied up in legal knots. Any potential for expanding the runways at LaGuardia, I just don't see that as a realistic solution, Mr. Olcott.
Mr. OLCOTT. Chairman, you have really hit the nail on the head.
You said we couldn't even consider something like that because there are environmental issues.
The runway or.
Mr. MICA. Political issues.
Mr. OLCOTT. I would just like to finish what I am saying. I will make it very short.
At Sky Harbor Airport, there was a new runway approved, it took 23 years to have it added.
We have got to do something as a nation to move more efficiently, not in any way ignoring the local communities, not ignoring environmental rules, but dealing with these in parallel as opposed to series.
There are ways we can address this issue on a national basis, making these conferences, this particular hearing particularly important to the nation.
Mr. MICA. Well, I agree we have some national interests and we have got to maintain that national interest, but you have heard again from the people that make the laws, we have people from New Jersey who do not want another aircraft of any description in their backyard.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That makes it politically very difficult.
LaGuardia is almost impossible, given the constraints. Environment is one concern, but beyond that, the political and then the noise constraint, and Mr. Crowley and others have made it clear, and some of the local folks, they have offered us some solution of increasingagain, if you have 70 people in an aircraft that will seat 130 or something like that, that isn't a very efficient utilization of space, but right now we can't have airlines even talk to each other because of antitrust restrictions.
How do you feel about the scheduling approach that we have taken as far as looking for that exemption and also trying a better schedule and get better sized aircraft in and out of these congested points?
Mr. OLCOTT. Sir, I would like to address the issue of airplane size, because that is in our area of relevance. We don't pretend to understand the way the airlines do their business, and therefore, I would like to focus just on the size of the aircraft.
If you draw a line and say that only aircraft above 70 seats will be allowed into LaGuardia, who is to prevent that line from being moved to 100 seats or 150 seats?
It's not the way to deal with the issue, because the unintended consequences can be great.
In terms of general aviation's use of that airport at LaGuardia, it represents about 4.2 percent of the movements at LaGuardia. It's spread out throughout the whole day. It's not bunched at 8:00 in the morning or 5:00 at night.
General aviation essentially uses LaGuardia only when it is absolutely essential to use LaGuardia. So, to say that you can solve this problem on the backs of smaller aircraft, I don't think will really address the issue, particularly for your constituents in Tennessee, so I urge us to really be progressive in these issues.
Mr. MICA. Well, what has happened now, and even I have considered it, since there are so many delays or difficulty even getting a seat into some markets, that people are, corporations and others that can afford it are going into the lease business of these small corporate jets, so we have even more small aircraft with fewer passengers now trying to get into some of the same congested locations.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OLCOTT. Sir, the use of general aviation aircraft at the top five airline hubs in this country is less than 5 percent. In the top 20 airports, it's less than 10 percent.
Furthermore, general aviation has been an excellent example of how the FAA's program of reliever airports has worked and worked well.
The member companies of NBAA do not want to go to LaGuardia when they can go to Westchester County or Teterboro or Morristown or other airports.
The issues before us relate to the importance of all of aviation to our nation and how do we take on these very difficult thorny issues and solve them in a way that facilitates transportation and benefits everyone.
Mr. MICA. Well, I think we'll continue to look at some of the suggestions you have made, both of you today.
Let me yield first to Mr. Clement.
Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. Olcott, you mentioned in your testimony that artificial restraints on airport access can leave room for dangerous manipulation.
Please explain what you mean by this.
Mr. OLCOTT. The quick, easy solution is to ban aircraft of a certain size, but when you have really examine that issue, what do you gain from it?
Do we drive towards the situation that we have in Europe, where this particular element of transportation, namely use of smaller aircraft, is not incorporated into a national program?
There are a number of airports in Europe that are very restricted to smaller aircraft. It's not, I don't believe, in the best interest of facilitating transportation.
Second point, let's say we go to congestion pricing and the public still uses the airport, because after all, congestion pricing exists today at LaGuardia.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The coinage is time. It's not dollars, it's time, and people are willing to spend that extra coinage of time to go in and out of LaGuardia.
There is no fundamental law that says you must fly out of LaGuardia. There are other airports to use. But the public says they want to fly, and the public is willing to pay that congestion pricing of time.
But if you have congestion pricing, where does the money go? If the congestion is reduced, do that airlines continue to pocket that money?
Finally, the system for how congestion pricing would be spread throughout the system is not clear, because an airline can essentially spread its costs throughout the rest of the system.
So there are all sorts of unintended consequences, as my colleague Mr. Hazel pointed out. We have to be very careful that we fully understand the ramifications of interfering with the public's desire to fly.
Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. Hazel, you want to comment to that?
Mr. HAZEL. I just want to comment on the small aircraft issue as it relates to airlines.
We are also opposed to a minimum aircraft size requirements at LaGuardia and elsewhere, and the reason for that is, if you require us to flywe use small aircraft because we are serving small markets.
We need to provide a certain pattern of service in those markets for the service to be at all useful for consumers in those markets.
If you require us to put in larger aircraft and the market demand isn't there, what happens is we don't fly fewer flights in the market because it doesn't work that way. The passengers want to go when they want to go.
What may happen is you may drop the market and put the aircraft in a larger market, so we need to be very careful when we think about requiring certain aircraft size in certain markets.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CLEMENT. I want to say also Congresswoman Sue Kelly, I think she's made some very good points today as well as other Congressmen about the underutilization of Stewart.
I think the time has come when Stewart ought to be looked upon very seriously, particularly with the site meetings we have had here in New York and New Jersey, and maybe a lot of the limitations we have knowing the growth that we are going to have in this area in the future, and we better get a hold of it now or it's sure going to get a hold of us.
We need to do everything we can.
Finally, Mr. Hazel, bring us up-to-date, very quickly, on U.S. Airways and United, the negotiations. They have been off and on and off and on and now they're supposedly on again.
Mr. HAZEL. I'm sorry.
Mr. CLEMENT. It's above your pay grade?
Mr. HAZEL. It's absolutely above my pay grade, and I really don't have any comment on that subject.
Mr. CLEMENT. All right. Thank you.
Mr. MICA. Let me recognize Ms. Kelly.
Mrs. KELLY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Hazel, I am happy that you came here today, but I am very disturbed by what you said about the fact that you do have service at Stewart, White Plains, Islipyes, you do, but it is incredibly limited.
I fly out of LaGuardia. Not by choice, but because I must, because I must fly on a plane that is actually going to go.
So frequently, if I have, as a matter of fact, I had the secretary of the Veterans Affairs in White Plains Airport, we were standing waiting to meet one of your planes, and the plane was cancelled. No reason given, it was just cancelled.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So we had to go down and take the shuttle, because we knew the shuttle was going to fly.
Now, I have a real, I have a really big problem with the fact also that you say you fly in and out of Stewart, but it is so limited.
If I wanted to fly to Washington, D.C. out of Stewart Airport, I have to fly to Raleigh, Durham and then a layover in Charlotte before I get back up to D.C. It would take me six hours.
No wonder people don't go there. You don't go where they want to go.
I want to know when the last time was that you did a demand research and checked the demand in that area. There is a lot of people.
Mr. HAZEL. I don't know. Certainly we'll be glad to go take another look at Stewart Airport, what the demand is, what our service pattern is, and we would be glad to meet with your staff if you would like on that subject.
Mrs. KELLY. I would like to know when you last tested the market for the demand out of Stewart.
Mr. HAZEL. We'll get you an answer.
Mrs. KELLY. It's a wonderful airport. It's easy to park your car. The people are friendly, easy to get your baggage, but the planes don't go where the people need them to go, I think.
The other thing, Mr. Olcott, you said that general aviation people, the business people would like to be able, they would prefer to go to White Plains and Teterboro and Islip.
Well, the honest fact is Westchester doesn't want you. Westchester and White Plains don't want your business. They don't want to increase the flights in and out of thatthe people, the county executive has been so very specific about that, he has closed the airport parking garage during the times when he feels there should be a curfew at the airport.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They do not want an increase of flights at Westchester County Airport. They do not want an increase of flights, actually from what Mr. Rothman said, at Teterboro.
These are things we need to think about. We need to put you somewhere where they do want you, where you can get good transportation, and I appreciate the fact that you understand how complex and difficult it is.
I thank both of you for being here and I would like to work with both of us.
Mr. OLCOTT. A comment, please.
First of all, the reason why the parking garage is shut down is because the voluntary curfew that exists at White Plains is not being followed by the airlines.
The fact is that the business aviation community doesn't use that parking lot.
Secondly, the airport was a high use airport for business aviation before the airlines even started to go into White Plains.
And finally, I think that the county official in White Plains, and I submit the county officials in Bergen and Hudson County, very much enjoy the fact that industry is located in that area.
Just a point, within 25 miles of Teterboro, we have about 225 member companies flying 360 airplanes. They have gross revenues of $2.4 trillion. That contributes a lot to the economy and they employ about 3.3 million people.
So the clear point is if you want the commerce that comes from a transportation system, you should try to find a way of accommodating and dealing with that transportation system.
And finally, I would like to point out that we have heard some very interesting statistics this morning that I believe are misleading.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The misleading statistic was that the increase in traffic at Teterboro was X percent and that was really suggested from stage one and stage two airplanes.
Quite the contrary. Teterboro has a very, very comprehensive noise policy and the number of transgressions of that noise policy has gone down significantly.
Teterboro and the Port Authority have worked together very well to be responsive to the local community, and we suggest that they should continue to do that.
The way to do that is to look beyond the rhetoric and look for real solutions, solutions that facilitate the safety and efficiency of our system.
Thank you very much.
Mr. MICA. I want to thank both of you, Mr. Hazel, for your testimony, and Mr. Olcott.
Interestingly enough, Mr. Olcott, probably we should have started with your statement, because I think you summed up the challenge that is before us, when you talked about the history of transportation.
I have been on the committee for some eight years, and I am convinced that transportation is the key to economic success, and this area faces a real challenge as they continue to not only reach capacity, but have constraints imposed because of capacity.
I think you are going to see the beginning of economic limitations placed on this area.
You are so correct that the development of infrastructure in this country, even the history of New York City, New York would not be the financial capital and business capital of the world if it weren't for a decision back in the early 1800s by then Governor Clinton to build the Erie Canal, connection to the Great Lakes, and that infrastructure, transportation infrastructure helped mold this into the financial business capital of the world.
If you want to see areas that are deteriorated, I represent an area called Enterprise, it is a town that no longer exists. It was once the biggest on the St. John's when the steamboats landed there and took off from that port.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There is no trace of it left but a few buildings.
The same thing with the rail industry, U.S. One, the interstate and other major infrastructure projects in this country, so this hearing is very important, and we face the same problem mirrored in Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and other congested areas, so we have got to find some solutions on how to make this work, better capacity, better utilization and some plans for the future.
With those comments, I again thank both of you for your testimony and participation.
Thank all of the members again, the good turnout that we have had, those who have been with us for the whole weekend, and again, the hospitality extended to us by the Port Authority of New York.
There being no further business to come before this Subcommittee on Aviation, this hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:55 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]