SMAAC is planning two Forums focusing on Governance of and Long-Term Planning for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).
VOLUNTEERS are needed to plan the Forums and the Governance Forum is previewed by a blog. We will circulate questions asking Mayor of Minneapolis candidates how they would want or expect their appointed MAC Commissioner to vote or debate realistic motions approving staff recommendations arising in the "course of business" rather than by Commission or Standing Committee request. Want to help evaluate the replies to score the candidate's answers? Use the Volunteer Button.
[The precedent election was the Fifth District CD survey with no incumbent. The benefit was that 3 of the 4 responding candidates submitted detailed, thoughtful answers. All three remain in government knowing a lot about commercial aviation issues and they thanked SMAAC because the questions led to research and prepared them to offer solutions.]
Background: The Governor and the Mayor of Minneapolis appoint and re-appoint Commissioners without emphasizing that the appointees represent a specific large geographic District. New Commissioners are briefed and oriented to the organization protocols, schedules, leadership and with the laws, legal arrangements and contracts in place. The dominant arrangement, of course, is the partnership with the FAA (CFR14) for operating the airfield, certifying its configuration and use, directing air and ground traffic, and managing airline scheduling. Moreover, airport revenue from airlines and passenger fees is paid to FAA and re-appropriated to the airport operator. That revenue is a function of use, over70% paid in 2019 by a single airline. It is a 3-way important financial arrangement, it only includes the public if the Commissioners include air travelers in their districts and land use in the 4 or 5 Metro districts near the 7 airfields.
In a crisis, other health, safety, and environmental experts --not MAC Staff charged with administering and negotiating overflight noise mitigation --can address reducing adverse health and safety risks and environmental impacts using more appropriate standards, science and cost-benefit analyses. The MAC Commissioners should, we think, act in the public interest when empowered, and report other public costs or risks they found but do not consider in the scope of their authority.
Most of our members and website-followers are disappointed in their elected officials' attention to continuing overflight noise and pollution. Many of our Members are frustrated by the governance structure(s), institutions, and laws that isolate and separate public interests from MSP planning and operation. In general, there is a feeling that misleading information has been accepted and considered, massaged and used to make plans and policies. s.
Consider that the MAC has postponed updating its MSP LTCP for a decade because it accepted airline and local FAA Converging Runway Operations (CRO) input. (minimum safe runway-use intervals) disputing National Transportation Safety Board warnings and continuing experimental air traffic control procedures and departure and arrival routes at MSP for 5 years (2014-19).
Congress, legislatures, and executive offices are asked to set priorities and budgets for commercial airports (and for FAA and airline benefit). by the MAC and by airport associations and lobbyists). Read the MAC's comments on the Neighborhood Noise Survey conduced in 2019 by FAA and retitled Neighborhood Environmental Survey Report. How well does it serve Minneapolis?
Consider that the MAC accepted airline and local FAA Converging Runway Operations (2014-19) procedures despite Safety Orders, and when FAA issued a specific to MSP R35 arrivals Safety Order and directed the Regional FAA Administrator to personally deliver and explain it, she was asked to appear first before the Noise Oversight Committee! SMAAC arranged to confer with key MAC staff about the capital projects affected and collected information from NTSB and the FAA Safety Office about the R35 Order, implementation is delayed because current use (about 40% of 2019 use at most) is manageable as scheduled. SMAAC testimony in 2010 was that peak-hour travel should be scheduled as safely manageable.
We would repeat that with numbers and reasons if allowed to present our advice and rationale in Transportation Policy Plan Hearing , before the Stakeholder Advisory Panel or the Sustainability planners; or the MAC could invite other health, safety, and environmental expert