Airport noise is underestimated

If you’re sitting at your kitchen table right now and someone on the other side of the table says, “Hey, what are you doing?” and you reply, “I’m reading the Addison Independent,” then you’re having a conversation. This conversation is taking place at a volume of about 60 decibels.
Would you believe the sound of your kitchen chat is the same decibel level as airplane engines at the Middlebury Airport? Well, they are equal according to the Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT). At a meeting on May 19, a guy from the AOT showed us a set of charts that indicated the sound of operating aircraft is no louder than two people talking from three feet apart. If you’ve spent even one day attending the school of common sense you know this is ridiculous.
The way the AOT measures sound, however, is not based on common sense. They measure sound against an absurd exaggeration of time that conveniently helps them sell their scheme. They create statistics where lack of activity is included in measuring activity. This is akin to running your lawn mower inside your house for an hour every day. That would be loud, right? Not according to the AOT. The noise isn’t statistically loud because you would need to measure how quiet it is in your house without the mower during the other 23 hours.
It’s hard to believe a public official would make such a ludicrous claim. He made it, though, because most of us are laypeople and we aren’t familiar with what the designation of 60 decibels indicates. He thought he could spout some scientifically sounding data and no one would catch him. It’s this type of duplicity that has made it so difficult to communicate with the AOT about their proposed development project at our airport.
Upon examination, all the claims made by the AOT — about safety, economics, whatnot — are found to be as bogus as their noise statistics. The operative word here is “examination.” The more one studies the details of their project, the more obvious it becomes this is an unnecessary and frivolous waste of millions of dollars of taxpayer money. There is a huge difference between the idea of improving our airport and the reality of the AOT plan. The AOT is trying to turn our safe and prosperous local airport into something that would require federal intervention and surveillance.
I don’t know if 60 decibels would be the precise volume, but I propose we tell the AOT loud and clear we don’t want them destroying the local nature of our airport.
Prem Prakash, Middlebury

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