The bill, as proposed and passed by the New York State legislature, would have required a similar bill to pass the New Jersey state legislature and be signed by Governor Chris Christie to take effect because it also included Newark Airport.
Rather than delay the study – known as a Part 150 study - Cuomo vetoed the bill and directed the Port Authority to conduct the study on the two New York State airports, as well as meet regularly with residents and elected officials whose districts are impacted by airplane noise.
“I recognize that aircraft noise has been a concern for residents of Queens County and Nassau County,” wrote Cuomo in his veto message. “Therefore, rather than wait for New Jersey to enact companion legislation that would require Part 150 studies at all Port Authority airports, I am vetoing this bill but directing the Port Authority to conduct noise studies that meet the requirements of Part 150 for LaGuardia and JFK airports.”
Cuomo also directed the Port Authority “to establish a community roundtable for airport noise and related issues in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration and other stakeholders.”
The Port Authority agreed to conduct the noise studies and community meetings, but there is not timetable for either.
“At Governor Cuomo’s direction, the Port Authority will conduct noise studies at John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports that meet the requirements of federal aviation Part 150 regulations and also create community roundtable meetings on airport noise and related issues in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration and other stakeholders,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
Proponents of the bill hope the study will provide hard data on the impacts of plane noise in neighborhoods in Queens - especially northeast Queens - where residents have been complaining about a stark increase in noise since the Federal Aviation Administration approved a new departure pattern out of LaGuardia Airport.
“We are confident that this study will prove that despite assurances to the contrary, the FAA's recently implemented flight patterns do have a significant impact on our communities,” said Assemblyman Ed Braunstein, who represents Bayside.
The move was also hailed by grassroots groups who have been raising concern over airplane noise as the FAA moves to implement new procedures – known as NextGen – that uses GPS technology to allow planes to land and takeoff at shorter intervals, However, it also means that some planes fly closer to the ground over residential neighborhoods.
“This is a spectacular outcome and shows what can be done when all communities work together and with elected officials that truly care about their constituents,” said Len Schaier, founder of Quiet Skies, a group formed to educate residents of Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island about airport issues.