Council Members Hodges (Ward 13) and Quincy (Ward 11) provided an overview and update on the proposed changes to flight paths at MSP airport at the 1/9/2013 FNA meeting. The FAA wants to change the rules by which planes take-off. They would like to implement Performance Based Navigation (PBN) and developed Radar Navigation (RNAV) paths that concentrate flight take-offs into narrow paths. The City felt that there was not sufficient community engagement or environmental study on this issue and asked the FAA to slow down the process. In an unprecedented move, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) supported the City in its request and approved a partial implementation of the proposed routes over the southern metro area, but not for those routes going over south and southwest Minneapolis. Many thanks go out to MAC Chair Dan Boivin, Governor Dayton, Senators Franken and Klobuchar, State Senator Dibble and State Representative Hornstein (Chairs of Senate and House Transportation Committees, respectively.) The City of Minneapolis does not have a voice in these decisions.
It is possible that the proposal may still be implemented, but the City would like input on what the routes will look like. It also wants more community engagement and environmental study. The results may show that RNAV isn’t right for Minneapolis- the flight tracks are not following Compatible Land Use criteria. The City is not interested in adding noise to areas that did not have if before, nor are they interested in focusing noise in fewer areas. The impact of the noise should be a shared burden with fair and equitable distribution.
Council Member Quincy recommends that residents and neighborhoods stay informed and involved. The City can be an organizer, but it is our Federal Representatives who have direct impact with the FAA. An advisory group of many southwest neighborhoods, Southwest Airport Advocacy Team (SWAAT), is in the process of forming. This group can provide a cohesive voice and provide feedback to our representatives. They will keep tabs on current actions and provide information back to neighborhoods. The FAA is expected to have some sort of response at the next Noise Oversight Committee (NOC) meeting on 1/16. The City will support giving consideration to state-wide transportation issues and developing the use of smaller, regional airports (Rochester, St. Cloud, etc).