Saturday, October 06, 2001

New runway's effects listed

Airport's mandates unknown until FAA makes decision

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HEBRON — The environmental-impact study on a proposed new runway at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport released Friday lists the potential effects and what is being planned to address them.

        But local officials won't know what they actually will be required to do if the project is approved until the Federal Aviation Administration releases its final decision.

        “That's when we know what has to be done to make it work,” airport deputy director Dale Huber said Friday. “They delineate everything we have to do, and we do not have a choice.”

        Friday's release begins a 30-day comment period, after which the FAA will make its final decision.

        The airport is seeking to build a third 8,000-foot north/south runway to the west of two existing north/south strips. In addition, the airport wants to extend the western end of the east/west runway 2,000 feet to a total of 12,000 feet.

        The total project, including land acquisition and sound mitigation, is expected to cost $230 million. Airport officials hope to have it completed by 2005.

        FAA program manager Peggy Kirby said the goal was to issue the “record of decision,” which would outline requirements, by the end of the year. She also said she knew of nothing in the study that would cause denial of the project.

        The report was the final draft of a study that was originally released in February to garner public comment. The executive summary was posted on the airport Web site,, and the full version was mailed to 24 locations throughout the Tristate for public viewing.

        The summary does not vary much from the original version, which stated that the runway would help reduce delays and the accompanying economic impact.

        Some of those impacts include the removal of 188 residences that house as many as 564 people, the possible pollution of some streams, and the necessity of moving Ky. 20 and Hossman Road near the airport.

        The executive summary didn't include a map showing where the 65-decibels border would lie, but Ms. Kelly said that the final version in the full report didn't vary from the preliminary study.

        The 65-decibel level is defined as being in an area that constantly has that much noise — nearly the equivalent of a vacuum cleaner at 10 feet. The FAA says that anything higher than 65 decibels is incompatible with residential living. The local airport offers either sound-proofing or a purchase-assurance program for anyone living inside the 65-decibel limit.

        The 65-decibel corridor for the new runway would be shorter and narrower than the airport's other runways because it would primarily be used for arrivals, which are quieter than takeoffs. The report also said the runway would reduce the economic costs associated with delayed flights by $70.8 million, and possibly reduce air pollution because planes wouldn't linger so much on the tarmac.

        Jack Saporito, president of the U.S. Citizen's Aviation Watch, an aviation watchdog group, disagreed with the findings.

        “That's based on the assumption that you don't add one flight,” said Mr. Saporito, who is based in suburban Chicago and is fighting expansion of O'Hare International Airport there. “The problem is that they're not looking at the massive expansion in flights a new runway would bring over 10-12-15 years.”

        Mr. Saporito and local runway-proposal critic John Bales also wondered whether the runway would be needed, given the recent dropoff in demand for air travel following the Sept. 11 attacks.

        “This is a joke — it's money and politics and appeasing the airlines,” said Mr. Bales, who lives just outside Florence in Boone.

        Mr. Huber said the airport would also be studying passenger traffic until the final decision is released for two reasons — to see whether the runway was still needed and to see whether a dropoff would create the need to alter funding plans.

        The airport is hoping that federal money will take care of most of the project; bond issues and ticket fees would cover the rest. But if the passenger count is down, the airport may seek alternate funding such as raising rents, airline landing fees or other financial arrangements.

        “We still feel like we need it, but we have to look at the numbers,” Mr. Huber said.


Building the new Reds ballpark requires major league precision
Guardsmen on duty at airport
- New runway's effects listed
City's bill for lawyer over limit
Arson likely in barn fires
City race issues analyzed
Man sentenced to 65 years in killing
Paideia schools rank low
Proof city's settling down: mayor monitors football
Tristate A.M. Report
UC hunts for spots to trim
Web site provides tax levy figures
Workers thought photos OK
SAMPLES: The Point
Antiques show back in old home
School adds adviser for kids
Transcribing fee called 'exorbitant'
Area emergency workers reflect on 9-11
Districts differ over funding
Education theme: 'Go Higher'
Harlan bids farewell to National Guard troops
Kentucky News Briefs
Oil tanks probably polluting
Public's wishes to be in park plans
Rescuers' fate hits hard
State faces possibility of more budget cuts