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O'Hare Noise

Since O’Hare became part of the 5th Congressional District in January 2013, my staff and I have become immersed in the issues surrounding the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) and O’Hare 21 capital investment project. We have met repeatedly with residents and neighborhood groups to hear their concerns regarding the impact of airplane noise on the communities surrounding the airport and convey those concerns to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the airlines. But there’s more left to do.  

The unprecedented noise pollution facing our local communities is a serious problem that warrants urgent action. The FAA’s failure to quickly and responsively address resident’s concerns and the agency’s lack of candor is completely unacceptable.   

We need to pursue both long- and short-term solutions to the problems facing residents near the airport, which is why I’ve urged the FAA to reevaluate the 65 DNL metric used to determine whether or not residents qualify for FAA assistance for noise mitigation insulation in their homes. In 2015, I was successful in getting FAA to undertake a study of the DNL level, but that study is now more than a year overdue and FAA refuses to adequately explain the reasons for the delay or when the study might be released.

I have also worked with the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) to expand the Fly Quiet runway rotation program. Fly Quiet is an effective short-term solution but as the construction of parallel runways at O’Hare continues, it can no longer be a viable option. Instead, FAA, the airport, the airlines, and the government at both the city and federal levels must work to incorporate noise considerations into every step of the airport and airspace planning and operation processes.

Additionally, I am a founding member and Vice-Chair of the Quiet Skies Caucus, which is composed of legislators from around the country who aim to raise awareness of aircraft noise and work to find meaningful solutions to the problem. Since coming to Congress, I have pressed successive FAA Commissioners on the lack of FAA’s responsiveness to these urgent concerns. Put simply, the FAA needs to do better. My constituents’ quality of life near O’Hare has suffered, and the FAA’s tepid response is troubling. There is more work to be done at all levels, and we will continue to encourage the FAA, Chicago Department of Aviation, and airlines to search for solutions that can provide relief to residents, who are losing both sleep and patience.

A robust O’Hare and a vibrant 5th District need not be mutually exclusive. We will continue to pursue every avenue that reduces noise without compromising safety.

More on O'Hare Noise

Jan 20, 2014 In the News
As the number of complaints about the racket caused by jets using O'Hare Airport's new runway soar, two Northwest Side aldermen want answers from airport officials about what can be done to turn down the volume
Jan 13, 2014 In the News
Residential noise complaints involving jets at O'Hare International Airport hit a record in 2013, which included a spike in objections just after a runway opened in the fall, according to a new city report.
Dec 12, 2013 Speeches
"It is also a fact that neighborhoods–not noisy aircraft–make life in Chicago and its suburbs special. We all need to work together to ensure the vitality of our neighborhoods isn't drowned out in the roar of aircraft overhead."
Nov 6, 2013 In the News
"Congressman Mike Quigley has been on the side of residents for some time now. He has written to the FAA, he wants a flying path at the very least modified, and he says the FAA needs to rework its policy on what is too much noise"
Sep 6, 2013 In the News
"O'Hare is critical to the region. Modernization of O'Hare is critical for it to maintain its status as a one of the top airports in the world...There are a lot of things we can do, however, to mitigate these change and the impact on my constituents."

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