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Quigley, Duckworth and Schakowsky Urge CDA To Improve O’Hare Noise Complaint Process

Nov 10, 2014
Press Release

Chicago – Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (IL-05), Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) and Jan Schakowksy (IL-09) called on the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) to take immediate steps to improve the CDA’s noise complaint process at O’Hare International Airport. The request comes after constituents of all three congressional districts have consistently complained that the CDA is not taking adequate steps to record and respond to resident complaints regarding increased airplane noise at O’Hare. 

“With noise resulting from the O’Hare Modernization Program at record levels, my constituents need to know that their voices are being heard,” said Rep. Quigley. “Our residents can’t get a decent night’s sleep or even enjoy quality time outside with their children. Therefore, we believe it’s imperative that the City fund and operate a telephone hotline that accurately and compassionately responds to their noise complaints.”

In the letter to Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino, the members called for a dedicated O’Hare noise complaint line, manned by personnel versed on the noise issue to begin to get a truly accurate count of constituent complaints.

“Our constituents in Chicago have told us repeatedly that their calls are often dropped or not answered in a reasonable time,” the Illinois members wrote. “It’s no wonder that many of our constituents feel that the very system put in place to record their concerns is simply ignoring them instead.”

“It is crucial that my constituents have the opportunity to express their opinions about noise coming from O’Hare International Airport and that these complaints are responded to in a timely fashion,” said Rep. Duckworth. “Many residents in communities surrounding O’Hare are greatly inconvenienced by noise from the airport and we need to make sure that their voices are heard.”

“Too many of our constituents live, work and go to school under consistent airplane noise.  They deserve to know that when noise levels are unbearable, their complaints will be heard and responded to in a timely manner,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “A dedicated complaint line is a critical element in providing that guarantee, and I will continue to work with my colleagues on this important priority.”

O’Hare International Airport became a part of Illinois’ 5th Congressional District in January 2013. Since then, Rep. Quigley has met continuously with neighborhood organizations and aviation officials to discuss solutions to increased noise pollution resulting from the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP). 

Most recently, Rep. Quigley urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct new public hearings and issue a new environmental impact study (EIS) of the OMP in response to questions raised over the hearing process and noise levels that exceeded expectations. He also called on the FAA to change the outdated noise metric that could allow more homeowners and businesses to qualify for soundproofing programs. In Congress, Rep. Quigley helped create the Quiet Skies Caucus and introduced the Silent Skies Act to help combat aircraft noise on a national basis. 

Text of today’s letter is below.

November 10, 2014
Rosemarie S. Andolino
Commissioner of Aviation
City of Chicago

Dear Commissioner Andolino:

We are writing to strongly urge the Chicago Department of Aviation to take immediate steps to improve the CDA’s noise complaint process at O’Hare International Airport.

In the year since the opening of runway 10C/28C and the initiation of predominant east-west flight patterns, our offices have fielded one unvarying complaint from constituents: their voices aren’t being heard.  Our constituents in Chicago have told us repeatedly that their calls are often dropped or not answered in a reasonable time.  Our constituents from the Suburbs are sometimes told their calls can’t be taken.  It’s no wonder that many of our constituents feel that the very system put in place to record their concerns is simply ignoring them instead. 

Given that many constituents do not have easy computer access to file a complaint online, we believe it’s imperative that the City fund and operate a telephone hotline that accurately and compassionately responds to noise complaints. Accordingly, we believe CDA needs to open in the very near future its own dedicated O’Hare noise complaint line, manned by personnel versed on the noise issue.  Once we can eliminate the dropped or ignored calls, we can begin to get a truly accurate count of constituent complaints.

With concern over noise from the O’Hare Modernization Program at record levels, the public needs to know its voice is being heard. We look forward to working with your office in any way possible to make the new complaint line a reality as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05)
U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth (IL-08)
U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)

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