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Airport noise bill veto 'really a victory'

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo directed the Port Authority to study aircraft noise over Long Island and hold public hearings about the issue.

Cuomo ordered the work after vetoing a bill late Wednesday that called for the study but needed approval from New Jersey lawmakers.

The legislation was seen as a pivotal first step for Nassau and Queens residents who have claimed a rise in flights at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports has increased jet noise in their communities.

"I recognize that aircraft noise has been a concern for residents of Queens County and Nassau County," the governor wrote in his veto memo. "Therefore, rather than wait for New Jersey to enact companion legislation that would require . . . studies at all Port Authority airports, I am vetoing this bill but directing the Port Authority to conduct noise studies" for LaGuardia and Kennedy. He also called for a "community roundtable" for airport noise and related issues.

The veto is "really a victory," State Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City), sponsor of the Senate bill, said Thursday. "That's what we wanted to get, we want to be able to show the world how some of these homes are being inundated with noise."

Co-sponsor Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) said Cuomo's veto was "a better outcome" and "prevented the possibility that New Jersey wouldn't have acted on the legislation."

New York's Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Democratic Reps. Steve Israel and Grace Meng lauded the governor's decision, noting they had called for such community roundtable hearings.

"Residents living among the highest air traffic in the country should have every opportunity to present their views to the appropriate authorities and a vehicle to gather information and hold people accountable," Schumer said in a statement.

Assemb. Edward Ra (R-Franklin Square), co-sponsor of the Assembly bill, called Cuomo's directive "the largest step that has been taken on this issue."

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