2003-10-03 / Community

Meeks: ‘Expand Kennedy Airport’

By Howard Schwach
Meeks: ‘Expand Kennedy Airport’ By Howard Schwach

Congressman Gregory Meeks, who represents the eastern end of the Rockaway peninsula, as well as the area around John F. Kennedy Airport, has called for the expansion of that facility.

Speaking in front of the Queens County Overall Economic Development Corporation breakfast at the airport on September 30, Meeks said, "Speaking of growth, when you look at the capacity of New York’s airports, there is really only one that has the room to grow – JFK."

"As the economic engine of my district, I have a vested interest to see JFK grow," Meeks added. "Job, jobs and more jobs."

Meeks told the group that he understands that his stand may not be popular with local residents.

"The people who vote for me don’t like the airplane or truck noise and pollution generated by this airport," he said. "When I say that I am in favor of expanding JFK, they often reply, ‘do you want us to vote for you,’ but I can explain my reasoning when I can show that my constituents are getting jobs as a result of Kennedy’s growth and other economic activities taking place."

"We have to manage the predicted growth of air travel into the New York area that is respectful of the adjacent neighborhoods of Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Airports."

There are those in Rockaway, however, who do not feel that any growth at Kennedy Airport would be respectful to Rockaway or surrounding communities.

There are already too many airplanes coming over the peninsula, from one end to the other," said a local aviation activist who asked to remain anonymous. "Meeks says that an airport expansion will bring jobs for Rockaway people, but that has never proven to be true, and will not be true until there is some valid way for people on the peninsula to use public transportation to the airport."

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