Letter: O’Hare Needs to be a Better Neighbor

To the Editor,
        Last week I held a press conference with several other legislators on the increasingly distressing topic of O’Hare generated noise and nuisances. We formed the bipartisan legislative O’Hare impact committee spring of 2015 in collaboration with suburban O’Hare commission acknowledging the detrimental effect noise generated from the airport was having on our neighborhoods. As a rare issue that unites both Chicagoans and Suburbanites, we have been fighting with the city and the FAA for years.

        It is undeniable that the airport is good for the city, but the carelessness with which its expansion has been implemented is inexcusable. Real lives have been and continue to be negatively impacted. Families are being impacted now like never before because of decisions being made beyond their control. They didn’t ask for this, they didn’t knowingly move to an area that has always been subjected to this kind of overwhelming nuisance, instead it is a problem that was thrust upon them with little care or concern to their well-being. I hear it from my constituents every day and I hear it from my house. I share in their anger. The state has little jurisdiction in this area, but that hasn’t stopped us in Springfield from tirelessly working to try and provide some relief to our friends, family, and neighbors surrounding O’Hare.
         We are requesting that the city take the time to consider and help those newly affected by the O’Hare modernization plan and we are fighting for the State to help those that the city fails to. Our proposed package of bills is aimed at approaching this problem by enhancing and strengthening the Fly Quiet program and in the meantime providing a tax credit to those who wish to soundproof their homes.
        The Fly Quiet program is voluntary and little incentives exist to encourage airline cooperation with the program or the production of quieter planes. London’s Heathrow Airport has its own Fly Quiet League, which has seen tremendous strides getting airlines to use their newest, quietest fleets at the airport and operating them in quieter ways through rigorous restrictions and incentives. The city has the authority to incentivize adherence to Fly Quiet guidelines and they should do so. While Springfield can only do so much, we are working to bring attention to the growing noise issue at O’Hare and send a message to the Chicago Department of Aviation and the City of Chicago that enough is enough. The City of Chicago needs to step up and O’Hare needs to be a better neighbor. 

Michael McAuliffe
State Representative, 20th district