Two of Queens’ representatives on Capitol Hill say things are looking up when it comes to their ongoing efforts to reduce helicopter and airplane noise in the skies above northeast Queens.
Congressman Tom Suozzi, who represents sections of Whitestone, Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck and Long Island, met with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on July 11. As the co-chair of the bipartisan Quiet Skies Caucus, Suozzi and other members representing Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts relayed the quality-of-life concerns expressed by constituents to the federal agency.
According to Suozzi, the FAA confirmed that it would take a series of steps to study and work to alleviate constituents’ distress. The agency will study aircraft flight patterns to try to alleviate noise levels and conduct several noise initiatives and health surveys to understand the effects of the noise levels on residents below.
The FAA will also create a central internet-based data center where all resident complaints will be stored and organized and provide enhanced community outreach, the congressman said.
Suozzi heard from frustrated Whitestone constituents at a town hall meeting in April. Attendees expressed irritation with the seemingly constant airplane and helicopter noise over the neighborhood, which they said increases in the summer months.
The legislator also met with the FAA shortly after taking office in January and testified in front of the House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee about the unacceptable levels of noise.
“I’m happy to report that communicating at a high level with the FAA resulted in them outlining concrete actions to address this issue,” Suozzi said. “Folks living in northeast Queens and Nassau County have been suffering for far too long. I’m hopeful these actions will move us in the right direction toward giving our residents the relief they desperately need.”
Congresswoman Grace Meng, who represents areas of Bayside, Flushing and Middle Village, announced in February that Suozzi would take over her role as co-chair of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus, which consists of lawmakers from across the country working to find solutions to similar aircraft noise problems.
On July 14, Meng announced that the House of Representatives passed legislation to authorize a Jet Noise Reduction Program within the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research. Passed as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the program will study and decrease noise produced by high-performance military aircrafts. The Secretary of the Navy will also be directed to share relevant noise reduction discoveries with the civilian aviation community.
“I thank my colleagues for supporting this important legislation,” said Meng, a founding member of the caucus. “Many discoveries and advancements made by the military have been adopted for civilian use and there is no reason why the same can’t be done for mitigating aircraft noise. Noise mitigation discoveries made by the Navy could go a long way in helping to reduce the barrage of airplane noise that continues to negatively affect my constituents, and those in other parts of the country. I look forward to my measure now moving through the Senate. If we are going to do all we can to combat excessive aircraft noise, we must use every tool at our disposal, and that includes out of the box ideas like this legislation.”
The bill would take effect on Oct. 1.