09.12.07

After Demanding That Hudson Valley Residents Be Included In Stewart Airport Planning, Schumer Today Announces Creation Of Stewart Airport Community Advisory Panel

In May of 2007, Schumer Called on PA Director to Create a Citizens' Advisory Committee so Local Residents and Citizen Groups Have a Place at the TableToday Suggestions are Heeded With the Addition of Jet Blue and Air Tran Service and a Spike in Ridership Over Past Few Months, Stewart is Continuing to GrowBut Worries Have Mounted Regarding Resident Input in Planning Process

With air service at Stewart International Airport rapidly increasing and its role in the Hudson Valley Region only expected to expand in the future, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced the creation of the Stewart Airport Community Advisory Panel. As the Port Authority (PA) of New York and New Jersey launched an operational takeover of Stewart several months ago, Schumer wrote a letter to PA Executive Director Anthony Shorris, stating the importance of establishing a citizens' advisory board to ensure the region's and airport's symbiotic relationship continues through smart growth. Today, in accordance with Schumer's suggestions, PANYNJ has launched the Stewart Airport Community Advisory Panel.

 

"This is wonderful news for Stewart International and the Hudson Valley Region," said Schumer. "When I first called for the community advisory panel a few months back, I stressed that the concerns of local residents absolutely had to be incorporated into the planning of this fastgrowing aviation center. I am thrilled that the Port Authority heard my suggestions and established a citizens' panel. This citizens' advisory committee will ensure that the operators of the airport are well aware of the concerns of local residents, while at the same time making sure local residents are informed of the overall redesign of the airport."

 

Community groups in the Hudson Valley reached out to the Schumer's office in May and met with staff members to articulate their concerns on quality of life issues related to the growth of Stewart Airport. Schumer agreed with residents that there needed to be a citizens' advisory panel put in place.

 

Passenger numbers at the airport tripled this past April from 26,296 in 2006 to 85,450 in 2007. This year alone, Jet Blue and Air Tran began offering flights from the airport and Delta Airlines resumed service.  By years end, the airport expects to enplane 475,000525,000 people, 3 times more than the 154,000 people who boarded plans at Stewart the previous calendar year. With the airport's expansion in the region and local economy, surrounding communities need to be protected from an influx of travelers and other quality of life concerns.

 

The newly formed Stewart Airport Community Advisory Panel will be made up of business, labor, environmental, healthcare and community leaders. They will help to prioritize the concerns of Orange, Dutchess and Ulster County residents and ensure that those concerns are reflected as the airport develops long term plans for the future.

 

"By including community groups and local residents in the debate over the future growth of Stewart Airport, we'll be able to strike the right balance of expanding the airport while preserving the region's quality of life," said Senator Schumer. "In establishing a citizens' advisory committee, the Port Authority will make sure the voices of residents and communities affected by Stewart are both heard and considered when discussing the airports' expansion."

 

Schumer has been a longtime advocate for Stewart Airport, working to bring lowcost, consumerfriendly carriers to the airport, as well as calling for an increase in the number of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) passenger and baggage screeners to prevent growing security lines from crippling the airport.

 

Over the last year, Stewart has welcomed brand new service from two national lowcost carriers. On December 19, 2006, JetBlue began the first roundtrip flights to Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando, and on January 5, 2007 expanded to two round trips, plus a round trip to West Palm Beach. In October, 2006, AirTran announced its new service to provide two daily roundtrips to Atlanta, which is AirTran's hub, and one daily around trip to Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa.   



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