NextGen refers to the project to (finally) modernize air traffic control and turn it into a satellite-based system. The Port Authority runs the New York area airports which are among the most consistently delayed in America. Modernizing air traffic control would go a long way to alleviating those delays.
The Partnership for New York City estimates that delays and congestion will rob the area of $80 billion in economic activity the next decade and a half. I think that number might be low. But even it if it right, if you look at the country as a whole the number would be more than a trillion — easy. Anyone think we have a trillion dollars of economic activity to throw away?
The Port Authority brought together a number of aviation interests, but more significantly, brought together leaders in the business, labor and civic communities. The National Alliance to Advance NextGen is composed of nearly 100 organizations representing millions of people. ACI-NA is a member of this coalition.
That is critical. Failure to do something about this issue has an enormous economic cost. But participation in this debate has been limited to aviation interests. By expanding the universe, the Port Authority has performed a valuable service by demonstrating the true economic cost of inaction.