Gov. Larry Hogan is urging U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to take action to alleviate airplane noise issues in the state after the Federal Aviation Administration made widespread changes to flight paths. The changes caused state residents to complain—including Bethesda area residents affected by airplanes departing and arriving at Reagan National Airport.
Hogan wrote the letter after he said he never received a response to an earlier message he sent to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta about the same issue.
The governor previously sent a letter to Huerta in May, asking that the FAA return to pre-NextGen flight paths until common ground can be reached on the noise issues.
In the letter to Chao, Hogan wrote that the noise issues are a “direct result” of the FAA implementing the NextGen air transportation system that streamlined flight paths to make air travel more efficient over the past three years.
Hogan noted that Montgomery County residents and people who live near Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport have complained about the issue.
“Montgomery County citizens are experiencing a growing sense of disenfranchisement when attempting to voice their concerns to the appropriate authorities,” Hogan wrote.
He asked Chao to find a “path forward” to address citizens’ concerns.
Montgomery County officials are exploring a lawsuit over the issue after also dealing with unresponsiveness from the FAA, which told county leaders it explored noise issues before implementing the flight path changes.
Since the changes have been put in place, planes have been flying closer to Bethesda area neighborhoods, as well as along a more narrow flight path that local officials believe has exacerbated airplane noise problems.