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Second Thoughts about New Runway

TimesLedger Newspapers

We welcome the decision by the Port Authority to hold a public hearing on its plan to extend one of John F. Kennedy International Airport’s runways closer to protected wetlands and residential neighborhoods.

Barbara Brown, chairwoman of the Eastern Queens Alliance, said a notice about the planned extension published by the authority in Newsday was inadequate. The public comment period for the runway rehabilitation’s draft environmental assessment closed in June.

The authority must understand that any change in the runways at one of the busiest airports in the world will have an impact on families nearby. This also includes the decision to increase the number of flights taking off from or landing on any given runway.

Families living near JFK say the noise from aircraft is already disrupting their lives. In addition, they are concerned about pollution.

One of the best ways for an organization to avoid controversy is to publish a notice of a hearing in a place where it is least likely to be seen. But that is not good public policy.

JFK plays a vital role in the area’s economy and employs thousands of people. The authority should make certain the negative impact of aircraft is minimized as much as possible.

At a recent Community Board 13 meeting, Brown urged her neighbors to get actively involved in the runway discussion.

Half a Solution

The state attorney general’s office said four Queens nonprofits will receive a share of more than $16 million set aside this year to assist homeowners in avoiding foreclosure.

This will represent the first year of his office’s three-year, $60 million program to aid struggling homeowners.

These organizations play a valuable role in assisting homeowners who are often confused by the foreclosure process. This is money well-spent. The foreclosures have had a negative impact on southeast Queens.

But counseling is only a part of the solution, and the other part is creating jobs with decent wages that can help people pay their mortgages.

The governor needs a plan that will put people back to work and improve our economy.

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