February 28, 2005 from The New York Daily News
By WARREN WOODBERRY JR. DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Nineteen schools in Queens, the Bronx and Nassau County affected by jet noise from Port Authority-run airports will receive millions from the Port Authority's Board of Commissioners to provide for quieter classrooms.
"The Port Authority recognizes its responsibility to be a good neighbor to those who live, work and learn near its facilities," said PA Vice Chairman Charles Gargano. "Our children need school buildings that provide an atmosphere conducive to learning."
The effort to soundproof local schools affected by aircraft noise continues a 22-year-old program. The Port Authority, which operates LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark airports, has invested $319 million to soundproof 77 schools in New York and New Jersey since 1983.
"Providing our children with the tools they need to excel in the classroom is crucial to advancing their education," said Gov. Pataki. "This includes providing an environment that allows students to concentrate without the distraction of aircraft noise."
All schools in federally defined "noise-affected" areas around the Port Authority airports are being soundproofed. The agency's soundproofing program will continue beyond the initially designated areas, with future eligibility to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Officials said the PA board's authorization is contingent on the continuing availability of federal funds. The soundproofing program is a joint effort of the Port Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration, which contributes up to 95% of the funding under its Airport Improvement Program. The Port Authority administers the program and provides the balance of the funding.
"This funding is a huge quality-of-life victory for the residents of Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst and the students at these schools," said Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-East Elmhurst). "As someone who has lived his entire life under the flight path of LaGuardia Airport, I know firsthand how the sound pollution from jet engines disrupts the quality of life for area residents."