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July 2001
Here's a short update on what's going on this summer concerning airport issues:
In this issue:
New Web Site
Noise Insulation Plan Update
New Capacity Study for MSP
Working with other metro airport groups
ROAR the vote
Sign others up to ROAR

ROAR, together with its sister organization SMAAC (South Metro Airport Action Committee), has launched a new web site where you can keep up with the latest on airport issues. Check us out at

As our web site grows, we will add more useful links, as well as a "frequently asked questions" section. Let us know what you think, and please forward useful information to us by replying to this e-mail, or e-mailing our webmaster from the site.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission will be taking public comment on a proposal to implement a "customized" noise insulation program for 10,040 homes impacted by jet noise on Wednesday, July 25 at 7 p.m., at the Thunderbird Hotel in Bloomington.

Proposal "6a" was first voiced at the July 10 meeting of the MAC's Planning and Environment Committee. Under this plan, each house in the 60 - 64 DNL contour would be tested and insulated individually, with the intent of reducing indoor noise levels to an average of 45 decibels. The total cost of the customized approach ranges from $127.7 million to $245.1 million--much less than the $452 million price tag to provide full insulation.

The MAC has delayed action on insulation for homes exposed to average jet noise between 60 and 64 decibels -- insulation which was promised to residents when the Minnesota Legislature voted to keep the airport at its current location in 1996. The MAC, under pressure from the aviation industry, has voted not to provide full insulation to these areas and is considering less expensive options. As this question is debated, MAC staff have been on a public relations offensive, talking up the benefits of the current program, while insisting that new planes and new flight technologies will actually reduce noise -- and therefore the number of eligible homes -- in the metro area. This despite huge increases in the number of flights and a new north - south runway which will direct air traffic over areas that were previously unaffected by airport noise. (See this story from July 17 at "Jet fleet changes could reduce need for noise insulation")

The MAC's Planning and Environment Committee may vote on staff recommendations on the program's expansion on August 7. The full MAC board may vote on the issue at its Aug. 20 meeting. The MAC would then send its recommendation to the Federal Aviation Administration for final approval.

MAC has begun the process of asking how many years MSP has left before planners and legislators need to reconsider building a new airport.
Despite the $3 billion expansion of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the noise insulation program, the region faces continuing questions about MSP's long term capacity. Enormous growth in the number of flights and passengers are at or above the MAC's forecasted range.
The study will probably be completed next year. MAC staff will be working with HNTB Corp., a consulting firm based in Kansas City, Mo., to update the 30-year forecasts made in 1993 which were used to justify keeping the airport in its current urban location.

ROAR and other concerned groups have pointed out that using the same consulting firm and the same flawed methodology to run the same capacity studies will likely result in forecasts that are just as flawed as the capacity forecasts produced in 1993.

ROAR and the Eden Prairie airport issues group Zero Expansion hosted a regional coalition breakfast meeting on Saturday July 21 in Eden Prairie. Together with Minnesota legislators and other elected officials, our two grass roots citizen groups identified a number of common concerns for metro area residents who care about aviation safety, noise and capacity issues.
ROAR and Zero plan to meet again with Minnesota legislators in September to begin formulating our aviation legislative agenda for the next session.

Not sure which candidates share your views on airport issues? The Southwest Journal and Southwest Community Education invite you to take part in a unique pre-primary event: a candidate "bazaar" at Southwest High School on Aug. 27, 7-9 p.m.

All candidates for citywide office including Mayor are being invited to participate. Voters can pick up campaign literature and talk one-on-one or in small groups with candidates.

For voters, this is a great opportunity to meet candidates in an informal and useful way. You can walk from station to station at their your own pace, meeting candidates you might not otherwise learn about before the primary Sept. 11.

If you want to let candidates for citywide office know that you care about airport issues, this is a great way to raise the issue on their radar!

Do you have friends who are as concerned as you are about airport issues? Sign them up to ROAR at
More from us as the summer cools down!
Sara Strzok
Chair, ROAR


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