Aircraft Noise At Memphis International Airport

RCED-97-37R: Published: Dec 17, 1996. Publicly Released: Dec 17, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Memphis, Tennessee, airport's Part 150 study and program. GAO noted that: (1) the 1987 Memphis study was conducted in accordance with the methodology established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the Part 150 program; (2) although the airport authority used the best data and tools available at that time, more current data on aircraft operations, fleet mix, and flight tracks suggest that the study probably overestimated the future noise impacts; (3) the airport authority has not yet identified additional actions it will take to further mitigate noise at Memphis airport; (4) the expansion of the Memphis program will be contingent on the results of the Part 150 update which is not expected to be approved by FAA until October 1997; (5) the program is likely to be limited by several factors, including a reduction in the level of Airport Improvement Program funding available for noise mitigation; (6) according to a 1992 Department of Transportation Inspector General report of the Memphis airport's property acquisition and relocation assistance program, the airport authority adequately supported the fair market values paid for acquired properties, in accordance with FAA's guidelines; (7) the report noted several deficiencies in the documentation of appraisals, and the authority has corrected those deficiencies since that time; (8) with respect to relocation assistance, the report indicated that replacement housing benefits paid to homeowners in 10 of the 13 cases sampled were excessive because payments were based on superior replacement dwellings; (9) the airport authority's procedures are in compliance with FAA's guidance for appealing relocation assistance benefits; (10) while the airport authority did not agree with this finding, GAO found that it had revised its market research procedures for selecting and documenting replacement housing benefits; and (11) the airport authority has not yet sold parcels of land required under its Part 150 program.

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