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Lentz applauds Delaware County Council for supporting regional airport authority proposal

Lentz applauds Delaware County Council for supporting regional airport authority proposal

In letter to DVRPC, Andy Lewis calls for more efficient use of regional airport capacity

SWARTHMORE, Oct. 8 – State Rep. Bryan Lentz, D-Delaware, said local support is growing for a proposal to alleviate increased flight traffic and overcrowded conditions at Philadelphia International Airport through the effective use of regional airports.

Lentz confirmed today that Delaware County Council member Andy Lewis sent a letter to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to promote the use of neighboring airports in the DVRPC’s upcoming 2012 Unified Planning Work Program. Lewis also serves on DVRPC’s board.

“We have a reasonable and fairly cost-efficient solution sitting in our neighboring counties and cities – regional airports,” Lentz said. “I am glad our local government officials agree that we should spread air traffic more equitably around the region so Philadelphia is not excessively burdened with travelers from northeast, southeast and central Pennsylvania.

“Delaware County Council’s support is critical to moving forward with the regional airport approach,” Lentz said. “Three years ago, I called for regionalization and sponsored legislation at the state level to enact my plan, but hit a roadblock with the FAA’s less-than-visionary plan to expand, expand, expand with little consideration to the surrounding community.
“In fact, the FAA still continues to side with airport officials and offer solutions with no long-term benefits to this region. So I am encouraged Mr. Lewis and county council have reached the same conclusions as I did, and look forward to working with them on this issue.”
Lentz explained that Pennsylvania is currently the only state in the northeast without a regional authority controlling its airports and airfields, which prevents coordination of planning and operations and basically guarantees underuse of regional airports.

He has introduced legislation (H.B. 2138) in the past two legislative sessions to establish a Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Airport Authority to create a regional approach to planning and operations among the area’s airports and airfields. The authority also would be required to enter into cooperative agreements with neighboring state authorities in New Jersey and Delaware, and coordinate planning and investment with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority and Amtrak.
“I see no benefit to letting airports like Lehigh Valley and Harrisburg sit empty, even if the FAA insists on expanding airspace at Philadelphia,” Lentz said. “This is about smart planning and making the most effective use of our resources. The FAA needs to consider other methods to manage growth at Philadelphia besides taking away more land from Delaware County, which at best, is a stop-gap measure.”
In addition, Lentz stated, that PHL and the Federal Aviation Administration are planning on spending more than $6 billion dollars of tax payers’ money on a plan that will not handle the estimated increase in air traffic.
Lentz said an airport authority would help spread the burden of air traffic so that it is not concentrated over Delaware County and neighboring regions.
“This is a quality-of-life issue that goes beyond Pennsylvania’s borders,” Lentz added. “Not only are residents in my district being bombarded by aviation-related pollution and aircraft noise, but significant portions of south New Jersey and other regions are affected by the noise. A regional planning authority would provide a comprehensive assessment of the region’s air traffic needs and reduce the strain on Philadelphia International Airport and the surrounding community.”

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