Senate Unanimously Approves Feinstein-Boxer Measure to Soundproof Lennox and Inglewood School Districts from Nearby Airport Noise
Feb 29 2008
Washington, DC – The Senate has unanimously approved a measure sponsored by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.) to help soundproof the Lennox and Inglewood schools from nearby airport noise.
Specifically, the legislation sponsored by Senators Feinstein and Boxer would allow the enactment of the settlement reached between the City of Los Angeles and the Lennox and Inglewood School Districts to allow the schools to use passenger facility fees for noise reduction projects – to the tune of $111 million for the Lennox School District and $118.5 million for the Inglewood School District over 10 years.
“This is very good news,” Senator Feinstein said. “I have visited these schools. I have personally seen the problem, and how very important it is that these schools get retrofitted. The unanimous approval by the Senate brings us one step closer to getting this bill signed into law.”
Senator Boxer said, “I am pleased that the Senate approved this important legislation. The students at Lennox and Inglewood schools are constantly interrupted by the rattle and roar of low-flying planes. They deserve to learn in an environment that is free from the distraction of jet noise. This bill will help improve conditions by soundproofing these schools so that every child has the opportunity to learn in the most conducive environment possible."
The bill was drafted with the assistance of the Federal Aviation Administration, and it has the support of the Lennox and Inglewood School Districts, the Los Angeles World Airports, and the Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa.
The measure was previously approved by the Senate Commerce Committee on May 3, 2007 as part of the FAA Reauthorization bill.
Companion legislation has been introduced in the House by Representatives Jane Harman and Maxine Waters (both D-Calif.), and has been included in the House FAA Reauthorization bill.
Representative Harman said, “Those who say the Senate is a bottleneck should consider that thousands of low-income kids who live and study directly below the flight path to LAX may now finally get relief. This action frees up funds to soundproof their schools and build classrooms that no longer resemble the windowless bunkers in which they now study. Kudos to Senators Feinstein and Boxer for a job well done.”
In 1980, the Lennox School District and the City of Los Angeles settled a lawsuit, allowing aircraft carrying up to 40 million people per year to fly overhead the schools. That resulted in having aircraft fly over the schools – at extremely low levels – approximately every 3 minutes.
A settlement was reached in February 2005 between the Lennox and Inglewood school districts and the Los Angeles World Airports to provide – over 10 years -- $111 million in noise mitigation funds to Lennox School District and $118.5 million to Inglewood School District.
Mitigation measures include replacement of HVAC equipment with pollution abatement, double-paned windows and/or sound reduction windows and doors, roofing upgrades, replacement of relocatable classrooms, and temporary housing during construction.
However, the Federal Aviation Administration interpreted federal law in a way that prevents the payment of the funds under the 2005 agreement. Thus, federal legislation is necessary to allow the use of passenger facility fees for noise reduction projects at the Lennox and Inglewood schools.