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New Jersey Members Of Congress Decry Sequester’s Impact On Air Travel

Passport Control Station at Newark Liberty International Airport (file / credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Passport Control Station at Newark Liberty International Airport (file / credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - With the sequester set to take effect at midnight, the main problems at Newark Liberty International and other airports will be threefold – fewer Transportation Security Administration officers because of less overtime, fewer air traffic controllers, and fewer customs agents.

“If the furlough goes into effect and we lose officers for those seven to 22 days, it is going to have a big impact on the passengers,” said Stacy Bodtman of the TSA workers union.

“So, if you think there were long lines before, you’re not going to be able to imagine what it’s going to be when we have the furloughs,” the TSA’s Justin Bourque told WCBS 880 reporter Peter Haskell.

Democratic members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation were at Newark to discuss the cuts and their effects.

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“Flights to major cities like New York and Newark could experience delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours,” said Rep. Frank Pallone.

Then there’s what happens when you land.

“The increase in peak airport wait times for customs could reach three or more hours,” Pallone said.

“It’s not just about inconvenience. It’s about commerce,” said Sen. Robert Menendez.

It will probably be weeks before fliers notice a difference. So, if you aren’t affected yet, just wait.

“The pain will unfold,” Menendez said.

Menendez and Pallone were joined by Rep. Bill Pascrell and Rep. Donald Payne.

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