A state representative from Delaware County, joined by other lawmakers, introduced a bill in Harrisburg today to create a regional authority to operate Philadelphia International, Lehigh Valley and other airports in the area.

Rep. Bryan Lentz said in a news release that establishing a Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Airport Authority could help reduce congestion at Philadelphia, one of the nation's most delay-prone airports, by coordinating planning and operations at all the region's air fields. The authority would be required to have cooperative agreements with state authorities in Delaware and New Jersey, and to coordinate planning and investment with SEPTA and Amtrak, he said.

Similar measures have been introduced in the past by legislators from Delaware County. Two-thirds of the city-owned Philadelphia airport lies within the county's boundaries.

Lentz said a regional authority would position the state to handle what is expected to be a 60 percent increase in flights to and from Philadelphia airport by 2015.

Contact staff writer Tom Belden at 215-854-2454 or tbelden@phillynews.com

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