Betsy Hodges 

1. What is your opinion of the planned PBN/RNAV implementation at MSP? 

BH: I oppose the proposed PBN/RNAV tracks over Minneapolis. The roll out of the FAA’s RNAV tracks at MSP was a failure. The Noise Oversight Committee provided FAA with a blueprint of expectations for RNAV at MSP and FAA failed to comply with 4 of the 5 criteria, including the most important one, to place the tracks over compatible land uses. The FAA proposal to move flights out of the Crosstown 62 corridor and place them over residential homes was a travesty. RNAV should not be implemented unless the FAA develops a plan that places flights over compatible land uses, and as a last resort, widely and evenly distribute flight tracks and reduce flight frequency over residential areas.

2. What have you done in the past to support our plan to support efforts by Minneapolis citizens to change the PBN/RNAV tracks and what is your plan to support the cause in the future?

BH: I worked with the Mayor, my City Council colleagues and residents from Minneapolis and Edina to block the proposed RNAV departure procedures. In a letter I signed to MAC Chair Dan Boivin, City Elected Officials asked him to oppose the RNAV tracks over Minneapolis and to request the entire RNAV program at MSP be subject to further community review. Because of these objections, the MAC told the FAA that they should not implement the RNAV tracks over Minneapolis, and only contemplate implementing RNAV tracks on the runways that don’t impact Minneapolis.

I will continue to fight implementation of RNAV over Minneapolis at MSP until the FAA demonstrates how it will be a benefit to the residents of Minneapolis. Any potential plans by the FAA to develop new RNAV departure procedures should require an engagement of residents in the affected communities very early in the process. Any tracks FAA develops need to include input from residents all along the way and be shown to be beneficial to residents. The tracks should be over compatible land uses as much as possible, and if they are over residential areas, the noise needs to be spread widely and evenly.

Additionally, in the last Federal Aviation Reauthorization bill, there was troubling language indicating that RNAV procedures should not be subjected to the same environmental review as other changes in Federal procedures. If this were to be the case, there would be very little reason for the FAA to notify anyone, other than the airlines, before implementing or changing RNAV tracks. I am not comfortable with Delta Airlines being the City’s only avenue of advocacy regarding airport operations, so I have been working with an a national advocacy group called NOISE to make sure that as the rules for the new law are created, PBN/RNAV procedures will still be required to follow environmental laws.

3. Since time is of the essence, what specific actions will you take in the first 90 days in office with regard to PBN/RNAV?

BH: My appointment to the Metropolitan Airport Commission will be knowledgeable of airport issues and will start on day one as a strong advocate for the residents of Minneapolis on the MAC.

I will create a staff position within the City tasked with tracking PBN/RNAV and other issues surrounding the airport and keeping the pressure on the FAA and MAC to be better neighbors,

The staff position and MAC appointee will work together to help both the MAC and FAA remember that any plans they may have, including PBN or RNAV, need to be beneficial to the residents of Minneapolis.

I will continue to work with the City’s Airport Working group of elected officials, City staff and MAC Commissioners who represent Minneapolis and continue to coordinate efforts surrounding airport issues.

I will follow up with Congressman Ellison regarding the status of the issues raised at the community meeting I participated in last August, and make sure he has all the support he needs as he continues to convey our message to the FAA.

I will continue to work with Senators Franken and Klobuchar, and Congressman Ellison, Paulson, Walz, and Nolan and ask them to help spread our message to the FAA. Senator Klobuchar and Congressman Nolan are especially important allies as they serves on the Committees in the Senate and the House that oversee the FAA.

4. What is your long term vision for MSP Airport, taking into consideration the projected growth in the airline industry?

BH: MSP is a landlocked airport that has no room for further expansion. The State of Minnesota needs to have a statewide aviation strategy and put the control of all of the airports capable of providing commercial flights under the control of a single governmental entity. The airports in St. Cloud, Duluth and Rochester are underutilized. Therefore, when there is a need for more flights out of Minnesota, the decision will be made based on what is best for Minnesota, not what is most profitable for MSP.

 

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