Lautenberg Votes to Approve FAA Authorization Bill to Protect Thousands of New Jersey Jobs
Feb 07, 2012 (Congressional Documents and Publications/ContentWorks via COMTEX) --
WASHINGTON, D.C. - This evening, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) voted to approve a four-year authorization of programs within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) so that tens of thousands of American workers, including hundreds in New Jersey, can continue working to improve aviation and modernize our air traffic control system. Nearly 650 FAA workers are developing NextGen technologies at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic County. The bill approved in the Senate tonight will ensure the continuation of work at the Tech Center and by other businesses that are developing a more modern, safe and efficient air traffic control system.
"With the passage of this bill, we are protecting jobs for hundreds of New Jerseyans working to develop new technologies at the FAA Tech Center in Atlantic County," said Lautenberg, a member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation. "The FAA Center also supports thousands of jobs in New Jersey dedicated to improving the air traffic system and making air travel safer and more convenient. It would be irresponsible to put these jobs at risk by delaying passage of this bill."
The "FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act" also includes a number of provisions championed by Senator Lautenberg to fully staff the control tower and reduce delays at Newark Liberty Airport; increase runway safety; improve air quality in the cabin; and phase out noisy aircraft. The legislation also works to protect passengers by expanding a Department of Transportation Consumer Complaint line and ensuring that airlines and airports have contingency plans in place to prevent passengers from being stranded on flights.
"New Jersey and our region will benefit from a new plan to fully staff the control tower at Newark Airport. Improving air traffic control at Newark Airport will help cut delays, improve safety, and bring relief to our congested airspace," Lautenberg said.
The bill was approved in the House of Representatives on February 3, and now goes to the President for his signature.
Below are the provisions that Senator Lautenberg sponsored or co-sponsored that are contained in the FAA authorization bill:
Newark Liberty Airport Control Tower Staffing: Requires the FAA to report to Congress on how it will staff the Newark Liberty Airport control tower with the staffing level that has been negotiated between the FAA and the air traffic controllers. The negotiated staffing level for Newark Liberty Airport is between 35 and 40 certified professional controllers. The tower is currently staffed with 26 certified professional controllers and 8 trainees. The airspace in the New Jersey/New York region is the most densely congested airspace in the country and Newark Liberty Airport continues to be the most delayed airport in the country.
Runway Safety: Requires the FAA to issue a plan to reduce runway incursions with a requirement for the plan to be integrated into the FAA's modernization plan; requires the FAA to develop a plan to reduce runway incursions through various airport runway improvements; and requires the FAA to develop a tracking system of operational errors and runway incursions.
Noise levels: Requires the FAA to report on noise impacts from the redesign of the New York/New Jersey/Philidelphia airspace and includes a provision to phase out noisy Stage 2 aircraft.
Air Quality In the Aircraft Cabin: Requires the FAA to begin research and the development of sensor and air cleaning technology to ensure the air in a plane cabin is safe. It has been a longstanding concern of flight attendants and pilot groups that the air supply onboard the aircraft can at times become contaminated with highly toxic chemicals.
Smoking Prohibition: Makes clear that smoking is prohibited on all air transportation when a flight attendant is aboard. Sen. Lautenberg wrote the landmark law that banned smoking on airplanes; however, certain charter planes have skirted the regulations to the detriment of employees aboard the flights.
Passenger Protections: Requires the Secretary of Transportation to investigate consumer complaints related to air travel and requires airports and air carriers to have emergency contingency plans in place to prevent passengers from being stranded on aircraft.
Veterans Preference: Creates a preference for small businesses owned by disabled veterans for carrying out airport development projects.
Read this original document at: http://lautenberg.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=335898
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