The region's economic future doesn't hinge on the NextGen system, which would move U.S. air traffic control to a satellite-based system ["Late flights: Takeoff and landing delays increase at JFK and LaGuardia," News, Sept. 7]. Nor should we allow ourselves to be misled by lobbying groups like the Global Gateway Alliance, which is pushing for this multibillion-dollar technology.
In reality, the region is facing an aggressive expansion of the aviation industry, one in which the economic benefits must be weighed against the environmental hardships.
NextGen was begun in New York in 2012. Three NextGen departures were created for LaGuardia's runway 13. One of these routes, the climb in which flights leaving LaGuardia make a sharp left to avoid Kennedy Airport airspace, led to a grassroots anti-pollution advocacy campaign that has grown to thousands of members. As a result of this new route, and the subsequent dramatic increase in JFK runway 22 arrivals, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered a study and a community aviation roundtable.
As of July, nearly half of LaGuardia's routes have been converted to NextGen. At JFK, 11 of 26 approach procedures are NextGen. This allows planes to fly closer behind each other, more frequently and lower.
Several recent studies suggest that NextGen will have a significant impact on public health. Flight routes have been linked to higher rates of cardiovascular disease. A study of Los Angeles airports showed particulate levels were four times higher than previously thought, in areas 10 miles away. Another study has linked aviation-related air pollution -- diesel, lead and methylene chloride -- to autism spectrum disorders.
The Global Gateway Alliance says that NextGen needs to be fully implemented or we could lose billions for the economy. Even if that's true, are these health problems worth billions?
Brian F. Will, Queens
Editor's note: The writer is a member of Queens Quiet Skies, a community group fighting the aviation changes.
Interesting article about NextGen and poor on-time performance. It would have been helpful to include information on the impact of this system on quality of life for the people in the flight paths of the anticipated traffic increases.
The planes are already strafing our neighborhoods at 90-second intervals with engine noise and noxious hydrocarbon emissions. Before this goes any further, a full environmental impact study must be undertaken.
J. Martin, Garden City
Nassau medical center hiring
A letter writer hit the nail on the head when he outlined how connected Republican operatives do very well in Nassau County ["Well-connected do well in Nassau," Sept. 9].
Now years removed from the Great Recession, and with constant budget shortfalls despite being one of the wealthiest counties in America, Nassau still acts as if it's business as usual.
Another flagrant example was county Legis. John Ciotti, who lost re-election in 2011 and was then appointed as counsel to the Nassau University Medical Center at a salary of $300,000 annually, despite having no experience in health care law!
All this while county properties fall into disrepair and lower-echelon workers get laid off or forced out. Is it any wonder citizens are sick of politicians?
Mike Tartaglia, Franklin Square
In a county institution with 530 beds which has had to write off $7.9 million in recent years because of billing errors, shouldn't the taxpayers have a say over who is being hired? A secretary without health care experience receives a $95,000 raise? Who hired her? Did Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano approve her hire -- she's his former secretary?
It seems as though there are other county personnel being hired every day at the medical center. Who is looking at all the new hires? Who are they replacing? Is it under new titles? The Nassau Interim Finance Authority needs to take over the hospital and stop allowing friends and relatives to be hired there.
Shelby Milan-Shore, Point Lookout
Spend to rebuild roads and bridges
Congress has failed to act on so many issues, and failing to fund infrastructure development is punishing America. Without repairing, renewing and building highways, tunnels and bridges that make commerce possible, the country cannot expand possibilities for our citizens.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower marveled at Germany's infrastructure, which enabled that country to continue fighting against overwhelming odds. As president, Eisenhower called upon Congress to copy what the Germans had achieved. That is why America enjoys the interstate highways that have served and invigorated expansion of our commerce.
Every dollar spent on infrastructure is returned to the government and the economy multiple times over.
The polarization of American politics, with its overt hatreds, will continue to be an internal threat to the nation's security.
Edward Horn, Baldwin