At the August 20, 2018 Metropolitan Airports Commission meeting, SMAAC delivered an Open Letter urging the Commission to make the purposes, costs and economic and emvironmental impacts of its 2010 to 2020 Captial Improvement Program (CIP) public, as required by Law and as related to the Met Council Transportation Policy Plan.
In particular, the long-delayed 2015 MSP LTCP Update veils the purposes and costs of capital improvements from the public, the Legislature and several State and Federal agencies. Key planning factors remain unpublished, and many details need to be explained or revised.
The letter said "We are hopeful that the Draft LTCP Update will soon be published and that maximum hourly operations limited by the CRO and aggravated by the differences in hourly arrivals depending on “flow” will be included, and that realistic Next Gen and automated flight improvement plans and schedules are used for the CIP.
"The MSP LTCP and the Metropolitan Transportation Policy Plan (TPP) for 2010 to 2030 were approved after they were revised by the MAC to include noise and other environmental studies adjusted to the evolving new routes and ATC procedures" in the 2014 Draft MSP LTCP Update.
Is is sad that the media, the Governor and the Legislature accept the fact of $billions being spent at MSP for imporvements based on a 2014 draft that has since been hidden and apparently revised by the MAC alone. Long-term plan changes may or may not be needed for safe operations, may or may not increase noise expousre and almost certainly increase air pollution per flight.
What is the plan, and when will it become pubic?
SMAAC 's letter repeated "...questions previously asked and that will be asked in the MSP LTCP Update Public Hearing (if it is ever held) and which should have been addressed by the MAC and the FAA MSP ATCT before or during the MSP LTCP Update in 2010:
- What are the annual fleet-mix, passenger and operations forecast for 2019-25 CIP budget estimates?
- How is the hubbing factor (reported as 54% O&D) derived, and is it relevant to the CIP?
- What maximum hourly flight operations rate(s) for both flows are assumed in the 2019 CIP?
- What MSP facilities were built or enlarged or modified for handling more flight arrivals than departures in consecutive hours since 2014 (CRO Order) and what facilities are planned for this in the CIP.
- Are safety-risk management requirements associated with the maximum hourly operation rates at MSP quantified and included in the CIP budgets?
- Is the MAC seeking health risk information or planning studies of GHG and sub-micron particulate emissions in the vicinity of MSP?
In fact, the Met Council imposed conditions for approval of the update including an immediate review of the MAC’s Finding of No Significant Noise Impact from route and runway use changes in late 2010 after procedures were revised in response to the September 2010 near-mid-air-collision near MSP.
Once the reality of the facilities and operational costs sinks in and if the probable liability risks are no longer ignored, Commissioners will want to be more responsible and expedite long-term planning and consider alternatives.
The South Metro Airport Action Council (SMAAC) for many years was asked to comment on the MSP Capital Improvements Plans[i] as an interested party representing many residents and travelers and several affiliated organizations. We were informed by forums and seminars involving Commissioners and staff, government agencies, elected officials and aviation and environmental experts.
SMAAC members developed expertise in airport planning including air traffic control and safety-risk management. We studied the environmental impacts of flight and airport operations and during facilities construction and repairs. We used flight statistics to model annual average ground noise intensity (DNL) and to project improvements related to the use of capacity (scheduling and weather) and site and facility limitations. The maximum safe hourly flight capacity is the FAA’s basis for planning airport operations and documenting their capacity and limitations.
Since 2005, the Commission staffi and presiders at your meetings, including Public Hearings, have increasingly imposed obstacles to open discussions about the LTCP and CIP planning process and your data sources. This led to a regretful lack of transparency, and detail on the public record, on your part.