An open letter to Governor Baker:
I live in Milton, MA, under 4R, a satellite based sky highway. I moved to my home in 2005. Living in Milton, 10 miles from the airport, I expected a certain amount of plane traffic. I got the expected amount through around 2013. In 2013/2014, NextGen-based satellite technology was put into place. NextGen trades fairly distributed fanned out air traffic for an efficient, targeted beam of traffic. Last year, nearly 60,000 planes flew directly over my home. SIXTY THOUSAND! They fly lower than they need to, also in the name of “efficiency.”
Last year, nearly 60,000 planes flew directly over my home. SIXTY THOUSAND!
Sometimes, planes fly about every 90 seconds for 20 hours per day, weeks on end. This is completely unnecessary, and it is not safe. I live under the equivalent of a smoky bar. So do my three young children. They also go to school under the equivalent of a smoky bar, as Collicot and Cunningham elementary schools are under this same path. The decibel levels on the playground are 80. EIGHTY! (Google it. It’s not safe.)
Last fall, my husband and I took our children out of school for a week to catch up on their sleep because the planes kept us all awake. We have lost productivity with work because of lost sleep and stress. At some point, our property values will start to fall. People suggest that we move — but even if we do, this public health problem will remain for others, and we rely on our local, state, and federal officials to resolve it.
People in my town aren’t asking for no planes. That would be a ridiculous expectation. But we are asking you to appoint somebody to MassPort’s board who cares as much about the humans on the ground as they do about the money Boston earns from gate fees. We have attended several Massport Board meetings. They have made it clear that the bottom line is what drives them. And Massport and the FAA sets up their own tests for standards — and, remarkably, they pass every time they test themselves!
We are asking you to appoint somebody to MassPort’s board who cares as much about the humans on the ground as they do about the money Boston earns from gate fees.
Massport has set up their metrics such that they argue “only a small amount of people are affected.” Of course a *relatively* small amount of people are affected — because it’s a concentrated path! People truly feel tortured. Have you ever had a roommate that plays the same song over and over, at a volume of 11? It’s something like that (except with pollution), for 20 hours a day.
And though a relatively “small” number of people (THOUSANDS) are affected, how many are you, as governor, comfortable with torturing?
Melissa Fassel Dunn
Editor’s note: Governor Charlie Baker did not respond to this
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