(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, as well as Congressmen Jamie Raskin, Elijah E. Cummings, and Dutch Ruppersberger, met with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell to discuss the ongoing community concerns surrounding the development of NextGen flight paths at both Baltimore-Washington International and Ronald Reagan National Airports. The new paths have created significant noise issues, and to date, the FAA has been unable to effectively engage with the community roundtables that have repeatedly tried to provide input on ways to mitigate the problem.
“Our delegation had a productive meeting yesterday with the Acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell and Regional Administrator for the Eastern Region Jenny Solomon. We discussed the FAA’s changes to flight paths for Runway 19 at Washington National Airport, which were announced at last month’s Community Working Group meeting. Although the new departure path is necessary for security reasons and will go into effect in January 2020, the FAA agreed to delay the August 2019 implementation date of the new arrival path in order to engage in conversations with the Community Working Group about future plans. We emphasized that public communication, consultation and participation are essential in this process. I want to thank the Quiet Skies Coalition and other concerned groups and citizens for their hard work and engagement on this problem affecting our community. We will continue to monitor this process closely and look forward to working with the FAA, the Community Working Group, the Quiet Skies Coalition, and others as we move ahead,” said Congressman Raskin.
“For years, I have been pushing the FAA to be proactive in reducing excessive noise – which is seriously compromising the quality of life of our constituents. Families across the region have spoken out about the issue, and we made sure Acting Administrator Elwell heard directly from us about those concerns,” said Senator Van Hollen. “I will continue to work with all parties involved to ensure that the FAA gives additional consideration to cumulative noise impacts and works more cooperatively with local communities on flight path issues.”
“There are real issues of concern for Marylanders who have had flight paths forced upon them and I am hopeful from our discussion that the FAA will redouble its efforts to engage with our communities, to understand our constituents’ concerns, and to explain the implications of such changes as we move into the next phase of NextGen for safety, noise, and the performance of our aviation system,” said Senator Cardin. “Greater efficiencies and safety are important, but it is paramount that the FAA recognizes the critical need for greater transparency at each step of its decision-making process.”
“FAA leaders acknowledged that new flight patterns—and the increasing number of flights serving BWI—have raised noise levels in local communities. I was pleased that FAA expressed a renewed willingness to engage with the community to discuss and address their concerns. I will be watching to ensure FAA keeps it commitment and resumes meaningful engagement with residents to assess ways of easing the strain that airport noise is causing,” said Congressman Cummings.
“It’s been four years, and we are still hearing from constituents whose mental and physical health have been impacted by these flight paths. Enough is enough – it’s time for the FAA, Congress and local leaders to put our heads together and reach a compromise that restores to citizens the quality of life they deserve,” said Congressman Ruppersberger.