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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on eight major airports' efforts to mitigate aircraft noise, focusing on: (1) the airports' selection and use of measures for mitigating the effects of aircraft-generated noise; (2) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assistance for noise mitigation programs; and (3) the airports' evaluations of individual noise mitigation efforts and total programs.
GAO found that: (1) airports formed advisory committees to identify, analyze, and recommend noise control measures and develop their noise programs; (2) advisory committees generally attempted to involve airport-hired consultants, community representatives, planning agencies, airlines, and FAA, but were not always able to maintain a harmonious balance among the airports' operational needs, community desires, and FAA requirements; (3) airports' individual physical locations, operational levels, and community relations limited the types of feasible noise control actions; (4) seven of the eight airports took noise mitigation actions under each of four broad categories involving airport, aircraft, or airspace operational changes, land use controls, physical modifications to airports, and noise management and community involvement processes; (5) of the seven airports participating in the FAA Part 150 program, which provided financial and technical assistance for developing and implementing noise mitigation programs, five were dissatisfied with FAA assistance, four were concerned about the sufficiency of future grant funds, and four had FAA-approved noise compatibility programs; and (6) airports evaluated or planned to evaluate the overall effects of their noise mitigation efforts, since they found it difficult to assess the effects of individual measures.
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