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Report calls for Newark, JFK airport expansions

Associated Press Modified: January 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm •  Published: January 28, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — A study calls for new runways and other expansions at two of the three main airports serving the New York region, where airline delays and cancellations frequently wreak chaos on air travel throughout the United States.

But the report released this week by the Regional Plan Association, an advocacy group, also warns of major obstacles, including environmental laws and development that has eaten up land around the airports.

It offered four options to expand Kennedy airport, each calling for one or two new runways. Three of the four options would require filling in parts of Jamaica Bay, a part of the federally protected Gateway National Recreational Area.

The federal law that created the recreational area specifically prohibits the airport from extending its runways into the bay. The U.S. Congress would have to amend the law to allow construction.

At New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport, the association recommended building a third north-south runway. That would require demolishing one terminal and parts of two others.

"Choosing inaction will result in an economic drain on the region," the report said. "It will discourage business, limit visits and prevent our region from fully participating in the global economy."

Costs for the expansion plans range from $1 billion and $3.5 billion each, the report said. There is no room for expansion at LaGuardia airport, the third of New York's Big Three airports, it concluded.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates all three airports, along with Teterboro airport in New Jersey and Stewart International in Newburgh, N.Y.

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