Can $51 Billion Upgrade to Region’s Airports Get off the Ground?

Continuing growth and demand, as well as environmental changes, are driving the need for $51 billion in upgrades to the region’s airports, including a completely revamped Newark Airport with an additional runway and the closure of Teterboro Airport, a new study urges.

A Regional Plan Association report on air travel and facilities stresses the need for expanded, better-connected and climate-change-adapted airports to increase capacity and support continued growth in the region. It suggests that its proposed overhaul of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s terminals and runways would reduce flight delays by a third while providing for a 60-percent increase in air passenger volume.

Entitled “Upgrading to World Class – The Future of the Region’s Airports Revisited,” RPA’s ambitious plan updates recommendations it made in 2011 and is part of its Fourth Regional Master Plan. Since then, ridership has grown nearly twice as quickly as predicted, and though some of the technological improvements that the report called for have been implemented, no actions have been taken to add new runway capacity at any of the region’s largest airports.

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