Aviation Commissioner gets an earful about jet noise

SHARE Aviation Commissioner gets an earful about jet noise
SHARE Aviation Commissioner gets an earful about jet noise

Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino got an earful Tuesday—the political equivalent of jet noise—about the new runway that has dramatically altered traffic patterns at O’Hare Airport.

Ald. Marge Laurino (39th) put Andolino on the hot seat during City Council budget hearings by complaining that changes triggered by the Oct. 17 runway opening have impacted people who moved ten miles away from O’Hare.

“My communities—the communites of…Edgebrook, Forest Glen, Sauganash—they didn’t move next to the airport. What happened was, the rules got changed in the middle of the game,” Laurino said.

“I expect you to come to the table with me…with Congressman [Mike] Quigley, with the FAA and address some of the issues we brought up—namely adjusting the flight patterns, looking for resources and support for noise abatement and revisiting the criteria for sound insulation.”

Andolino made the perfunctory promise to “work with” Northwest Side residents, their aldermen, congressmen and other elected officials.

But, she held out little hope for changes.

“We follow the FAA and federal standards for soundproofing…If they’re in the noise insulation area, they receive sound insulation,” Andolino said.

“Think about Midway, those homes are right up to the fence line. This, you’re talking ten miles out essentially. Are there impacts? Absolutely. Are we sensitive to those impacts? Absolutely. …[But], this is a huge economic impact and some of those residents in those communities are also people who work at our airport that provides good jobs to families….There are people who are going to be impacted. We are sensitive to that. We follow the regulations to ensure that we can sound insulate those who are most impacted.”

The new $1.28 billion runway created more arrivals on another runway whose traffic already irritates some residents of the 39th, 41st and 45th wards on the Northwest Side.

Average annual arrivals on that runway, 27L, will jump more than 50 percent by day and nearly fourfold at night, an analysis of city data predictions indicate.

Worse yet to some city residents, during about 70 percent of the year all night arrivals will roll into O’Hare on 27L. Meanwhile, the new runway will largely sit unused at night, city data predictions indicate.

Also on Tuesday, Andolino complained that the Transportation Security Administration wants to pawn off on Chicago and other cities the responsibility and cost for staffing exit lanes at major airports.

That’s even though the $4.50-per-passenger airline ticket tax was supposed to pay for security.

Andolino called it a $6 million-a-year “unfunded mandate” that’s scheduled to begin Jan. 1.

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