Rep. Peters Helps Pass FAA Reauthorization with Noise Mitigation, Requirements for Increased Community Input
Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) helped pass the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which reauthorizes and funds the federal aviation program for the next five years, including NextGen, FAA’s program to modernize aircraft technology nationwide. The bill also contains measures to address airplane noise including studies to better understand the effect of noise on communities, programs to address the specific subsets of noise impacts, and the funding to execute these programs.
“I joined the Quiet Skies Caucus in 2016 at the urging of Point Lomans and other San Diegans concerned about airplane noise, flight paths, and other changes taking place as part of a nationwide overhaul of air traffic procedures. Working with my colleagues in the Caucus, we were able to get some significant changes in this FAA authorization bill to help resolve many of the problems raised by residents,” said Rep. Peters. “These are important modifications that will help retain the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”
Below are some key provisions included in the bill to address airplane noise:
- Directs the FAA to study health impacts of aircraft noise in partnership with higher education institutions in certain areas, including the Southern California Metroplex region.
- Directs the FAA Comptroller General to study the benefits of phasing out Stage 3 aircraft, which are older and louder planes according to FAA standards.
- Allows funding for the Airport Improvement Program to be used for noise mitigation projects.
- Increases community input in airport land use compatibility planning.
Rep. Peters co-sponsored an amendment by Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) that directs the FAA to evaluate alternative metrics to the Day-Night Sound Level (DNL) 65 standard, a metric for determining an airport community’s cumulative exposure to sound over a 24-hour period. Certain San Diego communities experience a higher decibel level of noise during specific hours, which is minimized by this metric when averaged over the 24-hour period.
Rep. Peters added, “The updates we passed today specifically address the needs of the Southern California Metroplex region, including neighborhoods that feel flight path changes affect them more then other regions.
The La Jolla community, which was not traditionally as affected by airplane noise, experienced an increase in ambient noise levels when NextGen/Metroplex was implemented in San Diego. The Point Loma community has expressed concerns with Air Traffic Control redirecting planes from standard departure paths, leading to increased noise in their community. Going forward, we have better collaboration and resources to address both communities' concerns.”
Additional noise mitigation amendments supported by Rep. Peters and included in the final bill:
- (16- Rep. Speier) Requires a Government Accountability Office report on whether air traffic controllers and airspace designers are trained to mitigate the effects of airplane noise and its health implications; and whether over-crowded departure and arrival paths are causing air traffic control to direct flights to deviate from planned arrival paths.
- (13- Rep. Roskam) Directs the FAA Administrator to study the relationship between jet aircraft approach and takeoff speeds and airplane noise on communities surrounding airports and submit the results of the study in a report to Congress.
As a member of the Quiet Skies Caucus, Rep. Peters has worked with other Members of Congress, whose districts are affected by airplane noise and NextGen Metroplex implementation. Rep. Peters has also worked directly with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (Airport Authority) for several years, advocating on behalf of San Diego’s airplane noise concerns.