This was an amendment by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) that would have required the Federal Aviation Administration to study alternatives to its New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia airspace redesign. (The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has regulatory authority over all civil aviation in the United States.) This amendment was offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, and limiting the ability of federal aviation and railroad workers to form unions.
The FAA’s proposed redesign of the airspace described above had redirected flights over the homes of constituents of Reps. Garrett, Eliot Engel (D-NY), Robert Andrews (D-NJ), and Jim Himes (D-CT). Garrett offered an amendment on behalf of those members to direct the FAA to consider an alternative redesign. The amendment also would have delayed implementation of FAA’s redesign until the study was complete.
Garrett argued: “…The FAA's New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia airspace redesign plan would redirect thousands of flights per year over the houses of many of my constituents…In looking at this, we realize this has a very real and negative impact on the region, including a possible decrease in home values.”
Engel argued the proposed redesign could increase pollution in his district: “This plan will only save minutes on flight time, but it will disrupt the lives of thousands of residents in my district who live under the new flight path. As my constituents noted to me, the noise and air pollution in the area will increase. It's unknown how this increase in air pollution will affect the disproportionate rate of childhood asthma in my district.”
Rep. John Mica (R-FL) opposed the amendment: “Now, this does put in place another study of the airspace redesign, and, unfortunately, it delays the implementation of airspace redesign in the Northeast corridor, in that New York airspace, until that's complete. So that is why I have to oppose this….more than 70 percent of the chronically delayed flights around the United States start in the New York airspace. That means when New York goes down, the whole country starts going down.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 120-303. 98 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 22 Republicans voted “yea.” 213 Republicans and 90 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have required the Federal Aviation Administration to study alternatives to its New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia airspace redesign.