Lautenberg And Menendez Applaud Obama Plan To End Slot Auctions At New Jersey - New York Airports

Lautenberg And Menendez Applaud Obama Plan To End Slot Auctions At New Jersey - New York Airports

Washington - Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today applauded a decision by the Obama Administration to end slot auctions at airports in the New Jersey-New York area airports. Under the Administration's proposal, the Department of Transportation would halt plans announced by the Bush Administration last October to withdraw slots from airlines flying in the region and auction them to the highest bidder.

"This is welcome news for our state and our region. The slot auction plan was wrong for fliers and wrong for our residents. I commend Secretary LaHood and President Obama for their work to end this senseless experiment," Sen. Lautenberg said. "It is time to work with the Port Authority and the airlines on a plan that will actually reduce flight delays without increasing airfares."

Senator Menendez said: "I said from the time this plan was first announced that it had the potential to price middle class families in our region out of flying at desirable times, and I'm glad that President Obama is grounding it. Families in our region should not be subject to what amounts to an additional flight tax for where they happen to live. I look forward to working with President Obama and Transportation Secretary LaHood on what will hopefully be more sensible air travel policy that will make air travelers a priority."

Sens. Lautenberg and Menendez have long opposed the auction plan as counterproductive and potentially very costly to consumers. Instead, he have called on the FAA to modernize its equipment, adequately staff its control towers, and expedite new technology to increase airport capacity. In December 2008, they welcomed a court order delaying the Bush Administration's scheme to auction off arrival and departure slots at the New York metropolitan region's airports.

In 2007, Lautenberg and Menendez helped secured into law two measures to reduce flight delays and ease congestion in New York/New Jersey airspace. One provision required the federal government to provide a plan to Congress to reduce flight delays in the region, the nation's most densely congested airspace. The other measure required the GAO to investigate the FAA's Airspace Redesign Plan, as well as the effectiveness of a variety of approaches used nationwide to reduce flight delays, including the auction plan.

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