Joyce secures senate passage of $2.5M for airplane noise mitigation in Milton

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BOSTON — Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton) announced the passage of two supplemental budget amendments to study and mitigate the impacts of airplane noise and exhaust in Milton, including $2.5 million to soundproof impacted homes.

“Airplane noise and engine exhaust are seriously impacting residents’ health and quality of life. While these amendments will not ultimately solve that problem, they will at the very least help Milton families sleep at night,” said Joyce. “As we fight the federal government for fair distribution of flight paths, these amendments show the Federal Aviation Administration that we are concerned for the health and wellbeing of our neighbors and our environment,” said Joyce.

“Airplane noise and engine exhaust are seriously impacting residents’ health and quality of life. While these amendments will not ultimately solve that problem, they will at the very least help Milton families sleep at night.” — Joyce.

The first amendment, adopted by the Senate this afternoon, requires the Massachusetts Port Authority to spend at least $2.5 million to include Milton homes in the Residential Sound Insulation Program for Logan Airport. The program provides architects, contractors, acoustical specialists, and the labor and materials needed to soundproof homes. Typically, this involves wall and ceiling treatments, door and window upgrades, acoustical caulking, and weatherization.

According to MassPort, the program is successful in reducing noise by as much as 50-80 percent. The homes most directly impacted by airplane noise, as determined by frequency and elevation, would be given priority.

To the extent that Milton is not currently eligible for soundproofing assistance under federal law, MassPort is directed to immediately and vigorously pursue a waiver. “This is a serious quality of life issue, and it’s my hope that we’ll be able to provide some relief,” said Joyce.

“This is a serious quality of life issue, and it’s my hope that we’ll be able to provide some relief.” — Joyce.

Another amendment filed by Joyce requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to study the air, water, soil, and noise pollution in Milton resulting from overwhelming airplane traffic. DEP would issue a report detailing the extent of the pollution in Milton in addition to recommendations for mitigation by July 1, 2016. DEP will be directed to pay special attention to pollution at and around schools and playgrounds.

Four flight paths pass over Milton, a town of just 13.3 square miles, including two arrivals – Runways 4R and 4L – and two departures – Runways 27 and 33L. Year to date, as of September 2014, 33.8% of arrivals and 27.4% of departures were on the runways that fly over Milton. This means that Milton was impacted by air traffic over 60% of the time.

The effects of airplane noise and exhaust have concerned residents, many of whom have reached out to Senator Joyce’s office. Residents, especially those closest to the flight paths, have stated that they often wipe black grime from airplane exhaust off the windows of their homes and cars.

Others have said their children go to school tired, having been unable to fall asleep and then awakened before dawn. Some have even said the noise is so loud that they must frequently pause their conversations.

A study conducted by scientists at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California found that activity at Los Angeles International Airport worsened air quality over a far larger area than previously assumed. Further, the study found that concentrations of ultrafine particles, residue of airplane exhaust, within twenty square miles of the airport were more than double the concentrations outside that area. Homes in Milton are located between six and twelve miles of Logan Airport. A DEP study will ensure a better understanding of the impacts these particles may have on residents’ health as well as air, soil, and water quality.

Due to differences between the supplemental budget bills passed by the House and Senate, a joint conference committee will be formed to reconcile the differences.

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Senator Brian A. Joyce represents the Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth District consisting of Avon, Braintree, Canton, Easton, East Bridgewater, Milton, Randolph, Sharon, Stoughton, and West Bridgewater. Senator Joyce currently serves as Assistant Majority Leader. He can be reached at 617-722-1643 or via email at [email protected].

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