Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Climate Change

Are Port Authority’s Airport Expansionists Flying Blind?

jfk.plane.jpg

The top brass over at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are patting themselves on the back about the PA's plan to take over Stewart Airport near Newburgh, NY. "The region clearly needs additional capacity for air travel," Anthony
Coscia, the agency's chairman, was quoted as saying in the New York Times. "It's undeniable. This is intended to remedy exactly that
problem." If the deal goes through, Stewart, 60 miles north of New York City, will become the region's fourth major air hub.

This expansion of air travel capacity comes at a time when people in other industrialized nations, most notably the United Kingdom, are increasingly aware that there is no such thing as free flight. Prince Charles of England recently announced he had cancelled his annual ski vacation after coming under fire from the nation's Green Party and others for making too many unnecessary airplane trips. British Prime Minister Tony Blair caused a stir in scientific circles when he said he was reluctant to cut back on recreational travel and trusted in technology to cut airplane emissions. (Blair later received support for his stance from anti-poverty activist Jeffrey Sachs, who said global warming wouldn't be stopped by a decrease in air travel.) Celebrities such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and David Beckham have been targeted by critics of wasteful flying.

Plane Stupid, an anti-flying activist group in the UK, contends that not only is air travel a major contributor to global warming, it is also, through airport expansion, a significant culprit in noise pollution and the destruction of open spaces. The roar of cargo and passenger traffic tops the concerns of Ulsterites Fight Overflight Noise, a local group opposing expansion at Stewart. But their voices have been drowned out by elected officials, including governors Eliot Spitzer and Jon Corzine, who say that increasing the region's airport capacity is a simple necessity.

Photo: John Wardell (Nethino) on Flickr

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Friday’s Headlines Got Served

Another day, another GOP lawsuit trying to overturn a Biden administration climate change rule.

April 19, 2024

Disabled People Are Dying in America’s Crosswalks — But We’re Not Counting Them

The data on traffic fatalities and injuries doesn’t account for their needs or even count them. Better data would enable better solutions.

April 19, 2024

LA: Automated Enforcement Coming Soon to a Bus Lane Near You

Metro is already installing on-bus cameras. Soon comes testing, outreach, then warning tickets. Wilshire/5th/6th and La Brea will be the first bus routes in the bus lane enforcement program.

April 18, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: Charging Up Transportation

This week, we talk to the great Gabe Klein, executive director of President Biden's Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (and a former Streetsblog board member), about curbside electrification.

April 18, 2024

Why Does the Vision Zero Movement Stop At the Edge of the Road?

U.S. car crash deaths are nearly 10 percent higher if you count collisions that happen just outside the right of way. So why don't off-road deaths get more air time among advocates?

April 18, 2024
See all posts