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4 Queens schools slated for jet noise protection

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Four Queens schools will receive funding this year to be soundproofed against airplane noise around LaGuardia and Kennedy airports, the Port Authority announced Monday.

John Bowne High School in Flushing and three schools in Rockaway Park will be added to the Port Authority's list of schools that are to receive soundproofing from federal funds.

The Port Authority has earmarked $15 million for the soundproofing of the four Queens school and 16 others in New York and New Jersey this year.

William DeCota, the Port Authority's director of aviation, said the soundproofing program cuts in half the levels of classroom noise created by overhead airplane noise and improves a school's appearance and energy efficiency.

Schools that have already been soundproofed under the Port Authority's program are PS 120, 165 and 219 in Flushing, PS 38 and 138 in Rosedale, PS 181 in Laurelton, PS 143 in Corona and Our Lady of Fatima Elementary School in Jackson Heights.

Other schools still slated for soundproofing include St. Sebastian School in Woodside, PS 195, St. Clare's School and St. Pius X School in Rosedale, and St. Anne's School and St. Michael's School in Flushing.

The Port Authority's announcement comes exactly two weeks after U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) released a study saying the Port Authority failed to apply for nearly $100 million in federal funds to soundproof homes affected by airplane noise. The study also said the Port Authority failed to spend any of the more than $100 million a year the agency collects in the form of a per-ticket Passenger Facility Charge.

Port Authority spokesman Guy Trevor said the agency's announcement was in no way a response to the congressman's report.

"The timing is simply this is when the Board of Commissioners was scheduled to take this up," he said. "This is an annual thing the Port Authority does."

He said 80 percent of the money would come from federal funds and the rest would come out of the Port Authority's general budget. He said per-ticket fees would not be used for school soundproofing.

Weiner's office categorized the announcement as a response to pressure from the congressman.

"We are extremely supportive of anything the Port Authority is doing to soundproof schools," said Weiner's spokeswoman, Serena Torrey. "But it still doesn't change the fact that the Port Authority is not putting PFC money toward soundproofing."

"It's a step in the right direction, but it could be much more," she said.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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