Rep. E. Scott Garrett, R-N.J. (5th CD), issued the following news release:

Today, US Representatives Scott Garrett (NJ-5) and Chris Shays (CT-4) offered an amendment, which passed by voice vote, to the FAA Reauthorization Act requiring the GAO to issue a report assessing the possibility of utilizing market-based strategies to alleviate air congestion.

Rep. Garrett and Rep. Shays have both been active opponents of the FAA's recent Integrated Airspace Alternative plan which will re-route airplanes in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut area.

"The FAA has not fairly considered the quality of life for residents throughout the recent airspace redesign process. There are alternatives that would reduce airway congestion and air travel delays without increasing air and noise pollution over North Jersey. Chris Shays and I will continue to fight their plan and force them to fully address these alternatives and the concerns of these citizens," stated Garrett.

The Garrett-Shays amendment will require the study of "de-peaking strategies," "slots and quotas" method and other alternatives to improve air congestion without re-routing planes over quiet communities, increasing air and noise pollution and decreasing the quality of life. In recent months, Garrett has sought FAA review of a number of less intrusive alternatives, including a proposal by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to reduce delays and air congestion that has remained unaddressed by the FAA throughout the airspace redesign process. "De-peaking strategies" alleviate congestion and delays at airport during peak travel times by allowing the airlines to negotiate schedules and encouraging the government to provide de-peaking incentives. The "slots and quotas" method allows the FAA or airports to assign slots to airlines and quotas of an allocated number of flights that can be scheduled for a particular airport resulting in a decrease in our crowded skies.

"Shays and I have offered reasonable alternative actions that can be taken by the FAA to decrease airspace traffic without harming the communities' quality of life. The FAA has not done enough to create a fair and balanced plan. We will continue to fight this plan and force the FAA to hear the concerns of our constituents," concluded Rep. Garrett.

Contact: Mary MacLean, 202/225-4465.