Cuomo orders Port Authority to track jet noises more closely

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo at the

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo at the Capital on July 18, 2013. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Monday ordered the Port Authority to add 16 portable monitors that measure aircraft noise -- doubling the number of existing units -- as part of a long-term effort to manage jet engine sounds in communities near Kennedy and LaGuardia airports as well as those below the flight paths.

Responding to growing pressure from residents, Cuomo also directed the Port Authority, which owns and manages the airports, to regularly meet and hold discussions with advocates and Federal Aviation Administration officials, starting in April. "We will listen to local residents and ensure their input is used to make both JFK and LaGuardia airports better neighbors," Cuomo said in a release.

Mary-Grace Tomecki, a member of the Town-Village Aircraft Safety & Noise Abatement Committee, said manufacturers are building quieter engines, but the volume of traffic has increased, leading to more noise pollution.

The Port Authority is putting a team of seven employees in the soon-to-be created Aviation Noise Office to collect and review data from the noise monitors. The team, which officials said will include new hires, will respond to residents' complaints.

Cuomo's involvement comes after residents in neighborhoods such as Floral Park in Nassau and Bayside in Queens have complained about the roaring sound of jet engines for years, and, in some cases, decades.

Tomecki, who also is a Floral Park Village trustee, said last July that residents endured the roar of jet engines for nearly five consecutive days, the worst she remembered.

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"We clocked in 116 hours straight," Tomecki said. "That's not acceptable."

Residents in Floral Park, about seven miles from Kennedy Airport, understand that it's not realistic to move either the airports or the village, Tomecki said. But FAA officials could move the traffic in the sky and disperse it among more communities.

"The burden needs to be spread more equitably," she said.

The Port Authority plans to hire a consulting firm to help it with a federal study that looks at the impact of aircraft noise on surrounding neighborhoods.

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