TRENTON – Senator Paul Sarlo today said he will sponsor legislation to authorize the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to purchase Stewart International Airport in New Windsor, N.Y.
Senator Sarlo said he was grateful to Senate President Richard J. Codey for agreeing to his request to be the prime sponsor of the legislation needed to authorize the Port Authority’s plan to purchase the New York airport. Senator Codey will co-sponsor Senator Sarlo’s bill.
“Purchasing Stewart will help all the people who have borne the burdens associated with too many flights coming in and out of Teterboro (Airport),” said Senator Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex and Passiac. “This move by the Port Authority will go a long way to easing the just concerns of residents who have been plagued by air traffic noise and threats of tragedy.”
Senator Sarlo said he agreed wholeheartedly with Port Authority officials who maintain the purchase of Stewart ease crowding and delays at airports throughout the metropolitan region including Newark Liberty International Airport.
“Stewart may be underused now, but the Port Authority will apply its resources to make it an attractive alternative to the overcrowded airports used now in the metropolitan region,” Senator Sarlo said.
Anthony R. Coscia, the Port Authority’s chairman, said the agency plans to purchase Stewart, located just 60 miles north of New York City, for $78.5 million and begin expanding it later this year.
“This will also be huge for economic development, not only for the area around Stewart, but for our area here in New Jersey,” said Senator Sarlo. “If we can eliminate flight delays, it will encourage investors to the region because the movement of goods and services will be enhanced.”
The legislation to be sponsored by Senate President Codey and Sarlo is needed to change the Port Authority’s bi-state charter which currently limits its operations to a zone that extends 25 miles in all directions from the Statue of Liberty. Both states must approve identical bills to expedite the charter change for the Port Authority.
“If we’re not pro-active now, the headaches and inconveniences that exist today will be utter havoc in another 10 to 15 years when our three major airports reach capacity,” Senator Codey said.
Senator Sarlo said he was particularly pleased to hear assurances from Chairman Coscia that improvements at Stewart would be made to help attract some of the private aircraft that now clog the runways at Teterboro.
“The sooner this purchase (of Stewart) gets done, the sooner the people around Teterboro enjoy real improvements to the quality of their lives,” Senator Sarlo said.