Quigley bill aims to give residents near airports a say in flight-path decisions
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Dist. 5) late last week introduced the FAA Community Accountability Act, which aims to provide local communities with a voice in the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) decision-making process regarding flight paths.
“My constituents back home in Chicago are facing unprecedented noise pollution from passing aircraft that is eroding their quality of life, lowering their property values and impacting their health,” Quigley, co-chairman of the Quiet Skies Caucus, said. “But this is clearly not just a Chicago issue. Communities across the country are experiencing increased airplane noise, and it’s time for the FAA to be more accountable and responsive to their concerns. I’m proud to introduce the FAA Community Accountability Act with my colleagues to ensure that the voices of our constituents are heard before changes to flight paths are considered.”
The measure would establish a new process for future flight-path changes under the FAA's NextGen program, including a level of community involvement. This new process would acknowledge input and consider the effects any proposed path changes would inflict on communities. The legislation also would end the presumption under current law that flight paths implemented through the NextGen program may not follow pre-existing routes, even when these paths better reflect land use around the airport. Additionally, the bill would designate Community Ombudsmen to serve as effective, independent voices for airport communities within the agency. Finally, the bill would no longer allow the FAA to bypass the environmental-review process for new flight paths over the objections of local communities.