Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick asks Secretary Buttigieg to withhold federal funds for TTN expansion
Secretary Pete Buttigieg
U.S. Secretary of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20590
May 15, 2023
Dear Secretary Buttigieg:
I write to you regarding the Trenton-Mercer Airport (TTN) in Ewing, New Jersey, located just neighboring my Congressional District which you recently visited. As you are aware, I have concerns regarding the expansion of this airport due to the direct impact this project has on the residents of Bucks County. As outlined in my previous correspondence to the FAA in numerous letters, I believe there is clear evidence that this expansion project will lead to an increase in flights at TTN. The FAA’s apparent unwillingness to acknowledge this increase in traffic at TTN is allowing the airport to bypass the necessary NEPA environmental review process that would study potential health impacts to the region, like increased emissions, risk of groundwater contamination by the hazardous chemical Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS), and other dangers.
Enclosed with this letter, you will find my June 11, 2021, public comment to the draft Trenton-Mercer Airport Terminal Area Improvements Environmental Assessment discussing my personal beliefs and concerns:
- Expansion from 2 fully operational gates to 4 fully operational gates;
- Modification of the current taxiways to increase airport efficiency;
- Underestimation of flight growth/enplanements for evaluation of environmental impacts;
- Health impacts for emissions and noise pollution caused by the airport;
- PFAS contamination in the area surrounding and on airport;
- Existing wetlands contaminated by PFAS connected to the Delaware River; and
- Removal of 30.7 acres of trees.
I remain adamant in my belief that this project is, in fact, an expansion project and that further environmental review is necessary before breaking ground or any investments are made into an airport that can cause lasting impacts to the southeastern Pennsylvania region and beyond. As you are aware, citizens and businesses from Pennsylvania and New Jersey have challenged the FAA’s approval in federal court. They are demanding that an Environmental Impact Statement be completed before the County can move forward with its construction. While we await a court decision, I ask that you consider a delay in federal funding for this project, at the very least, until hazardous PFAS contamination is remediated from the area.
As a proud supporter of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, I understand the importance of modernizing and investing in our airports. However, I believe the purpose of the Act is to better our community. I believe it is essential that we do not ignore the health of our residents in the process of improving infrastructure, which is why I believe it to be essential to further study health impacts before breaking ground on this expansion project.
Thank you for your consideration to the matter and I look forward to your response.
Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01)
Member of Congress