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Congressman Gallego Floor Speech on NextGen/FAA Amendment

June 4, 2015

Mr. Chairman,

I rise to offer an amendment that would prevent the FAA from moving forward with plans to redesign the Phoenix Metroplex airspace. 

Let me explain why this amendment is so important to the people of my city. 

Imagine living in a quiet neighborhood and then waking up one morning to discover that dozens planes are suddenly roaring overhead. 

Next, imagine the frustration of running a business, raising a family or even trying to get a good night’s sleep when your windows are constantly rattled by the noise of passing aircraft.

Finally, imagine that all of this discomfort was both needless and avoidable; that it was caused by out-of-touch bureaucrats who rerouted major flight paths over your community without ever bothering to consult the people who live there. 

Unfortunately, for thousands of Phoenix residents, this isn’t a hypothetical scenario.  

In September of last year, the FAA instituted new flight paths for aircraft departing from Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX). 

For too many members of my community, these changes have meant more noise and a lower quality of life.  

Disturbingly, the FAA altered these flight paths without seeking local input, failing to consult with community members or civic leaders in the Phoenix area.

Mr. Chairman, this isn’t how our government is supposed to operate in America.   

Together with city officials and my friends, Congressman Schweikert and Congresswoman Sinema, we are fighting to force the FAA to shift these routes away from the affected communities.  

Our amendment is very straightforward.  It would simply ensure that FAA does not proceed with redesigning the regional airspace while these serious issues remain unresolved at Sky Harbor Airport.

Experts tell us that if the flight paths in Phoenix are eventually altered—as we and city officials are strongly advocating—then the entire Metroplex airspace will need to be revisited.

Instead of rushing forward, the FAA should do the prudent thing and wait until our communities’ concerns have been fully addressed. 

In closing, let me offer a word of warning. 

For those of you who think this is exclusively a Phoenix problem, just wait – your city could be next. 

As the NextGen program moves forward, the precedents we set in Arizona regarding aircraft noise will resonate across the nation. 

Thank you again to Congressman Schweikert and Congresswoman Sinema for their support. 

Today, we are speaking loudly on behalf of thousands of Arizonans who simply want some peace and quiet. 

Mr. Chairman, I urge all members to support this bipartisan amendment and I reserve the balance of my time.