20 Aug 2014
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Report: Airport Traffic Changes Will Be Delayed

Minneapolis state senator claims MAC chairman has assembled enough votes.

Report: Airport Traffic Changes Will Be Delayed

According to TheUptake's Mike McIntee, Southwest Minneapolis residents dreading the arrival of hundreds of planes overhead may get a reprieve on Monday.

In an interview on McIntee's Friday radio show on AM 950, Southwest Minneapolis' state Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-61) said Metropolitan Airports Commission Chairman Dan Boivin has assembled enough votes on the 14-member board that governs MAC to delay implementation of a controversial new technology called RNAV. The MAC commissioners are scheduled to meet Monday to vote on whether to endorse the change, which was requested by the FAA. If MAC does not endorse the change by the end of November, the FAA must delay implementation for approximately  year.

Boivin did not immediately return Patch's requests for comment.

Dibble and Southwest Minneapolis' Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-61A) have been pressuring MAC commissioners to delay RNAV implementation in order to give the public more time to give input on the process. Friday, many members of Minneapolis' state legislative delegation signed on to a letter urging a delay.

Many Southwest Minneapolis residents have been up in arms over the issue, saying MAC and the independent noise monitoring organization were trying to ram the changes through without public input and without giving the public enough information to understand the changes.

"What makes me angry is that it’s not my job or my expertise to sort through this and figure this out," Fulton neighborhood resident and activist Sarah Thompson told Patch. "If they want to reassure us it won’t be that terrible, they should let us know. If it’s really going to be that terrible, they should tell us what they’ll do to mitigate that."

The RNAV technology lets air traffic controllers organize departing and arriving flights into "highways in the sky" in an effort to speed flights and prevent mid-air collisions. 

Several on-ramps to these "highways" would pass over Southwest Minneapolis, concentrating what are currently a spider's web of flight paths over a select few blocks. Those blocks could see hundreds of planes per day fly overhead during peak times.

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