WASHINGTON - All they're asking for is an even playing field.
Eleven of Pennsylvania's 18 congress members and its two senators are asking the FAA to consider their state when deciding where to put an air traffic control facility.
The agency is considering Albany, even though several sites in eastern Pa. fit the criterion outlined by the FAA other than the arbitrary limitation based on state boundaries, according to a letter the delegation has sent to the FAA.
These Pa. sites are located in areas with considerably lower costs of living and an existing security presence which may provide an opportunity for significant cost savings. Many of these sites are also closer to New York City than Albany.
The letter was signed by Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, and U.S. Representatives Lou Barletta (PA-11), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Charlie Dent (PA-15), Michael Fitzpatrick (PA-8), Jim Gerlach (PA-6), Tom Marino (PA-10), Pat Meehan (PA-7), Keith Rothfus (PA-12), and Scott Perry (PA-4).
The full text of the letter:
January 31, 2013
Administrator Michael Huerta
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20591
Dear Administrator Huerta,
We write today regarding the FAA's plan to modernize our air traffic control system. We ardently support this process and believe it will make our skies safer and more efficient. According to reports, the first facility to be built for this endeavor will be a $220 million integrated facility consolidating air traffic control efforts in parts of the Northeastern United States. While this is a welcomed step, we urge you to give equal consideration for this facility to locations within 150 miles of New York City that fall outside the state of New York.
There are numerous properties in Eastern Pennsylvania that fit the criteria outlined by the FAA other than the arbitrary limitation based on state boundaries. In addition to privately-held properties, we are aware of federal installations in our state that fit the requirements described in your Request for Information. They are located in areas with considerably lower costs of living and an existing security presence which may provide an opportunity for significant cost savings. Moreover, many of these sites are also closer to New York City than Albany, which we understand your agency is considering.
It seems unfortunate that your agency is taking viable options like those in Pennsylvania off the table given that the Department of Transportation's Inspector General has noted that past FAA consolidation efforts have not produced the cost savings initially anticipated.
Accordingly, we request that you allow additional time for the consideration of sites in Pennsylvania that are within 150 miles of New York City. We hope you agree that the FAA should select a site which fits the operational needs of the country's modernization efforts that also brings the best value to taxpayers.
Thank you for your consideration.
Senator Pat Toomey Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Representative Lou Barletta Representative Pat Meehan
Representative Tom Marino Representative Charlie Dent
Representative Matt Cartwright Representative Scott Perry
Representative Mike Fitzpatrick Representative Keith Rothfus
Representative Jim Gerlach
Allentown, PA 18102