CHICAGO (CBS) — Three Congress members from Illinois were demanding new public hearings on jet noise at O’Hare International Airport, in the wake of a report the FAA provided inaccurate data before hearings held nine years ago before the project to overhaul the airport’s runways.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley said faulty noise estimates originally provided by the Federal Aviation Administration did not show the real impact of expanding and reconfiguring O’Hare’s runways.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday that the FAA quietly changed those estimates online, months after public hearings were held in 2005. The new numbers revealed the O’Hare Modernization Program would significantly increase the number of planes flying over Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs directly east and west of the airport, thanks to the new east-west parallel layout of the runways.
Now that residents near O’Hare have begun experiencing the real noise impact of the new runway configuration, Quigley and U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Tammy Duckworth have demanded action from the feds and the city.
“I think the first thing that the FAA and the city’s Department of Aviation should do is hold a new round of hearings about the rollout of the O’Hare Modernization Program, and a commitment that they do a new environmental impact study,” Quigley said.
The congressman said he supports the $8 billion expansion of O’Hare, but he said there should be more noise reduction provided for residents who live along the new flight paths.
“The long-term solution, we’ve got to get some quieter engines, and we have a bill in Congress to do that,” Quigley said. “The short-term solution is policies called ‘Fly Quiet,’ where among things, they spread out the use of different runways, and alternate their use at different times, so one neighborhood doesn’t get all of the nighttime flights every night.”