Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You can't always get what you want...unless you are Massport

NECN has a report on Logan Airport's centerfield taxiway -- Massport's latest cure-all. It's scheduled to be completed by 2010 at a cost of $43 million, though the report says that part of it will be in service by the end of the year.

Throughout the report Massport's hype is repeated without question, while East Boston resident and activist Mary Berninger gets the obligatory few seconds to point out her concerns about the effects on the community.

Peter Howe, a former Globe reporter now at NECN, should know better than to buy the Massport line that the taxiway will mean fewer delays. In fact, a report on NECN just yesterday noted that the biggest reasons for planes sitting on the runway are weather, "the antiquated air traffic control system" and delays at the New York City area airports.

I was hoping that James Aloisi, Massport's newest board member and a guy from East Boston, would add a little conscience to the organization, but maybe I am asking too much.

1 comment:

Mary Berninger said...

Hi, Jim. This is the email I sent to Mr. Howe in response to his segment last night regarding the centerfield taxiway. Question: When have this neighborhood's concerns ever been given the same credence that is afforded to Massport and its expansion efforts?

Good morning, Mr. Howe.

Last night I watched your segment on the centerfield taxiway at Logan Airport. Quite frankly, I was disappointed at the skewed version of the story as you portrayed it.

I felt that the information I gave to you regarding the history of the project, the DPH health study, the lack of support for the community from Senators Kennedy and Kerry, the lobbying realities by Massport and the expected impacts to my community warranted a more thorough presentation of the community's viewpoint of the project. Instead, you were successful in highlighting the Massport agenda and you did it very well. The Massport Board of Directors, Executive Director and the head of Government and External Affairs must be very pleased with your work. Kudos.

While having coffee this morning, another activist approached me to say that he had seen the clip and he knew right away that there was more information I gave to you, but he wasn't surprised that your media outlet chose basically to give the Massport version and very little of the community perspective.

Not having learned my lesson of the futility of talking to reporters, I agreed to the interview because I hoped that you would give a balanced reporting of the issue, especially since you made a point to inform me that your director, Doreen Utica, came from this neighborhood. I hoped she would have expected you to achieve that balance, but you did not.

So, ultimately, what your piece succeeded in doing was portraying East Boston residents as complaining only about noise and you succeeded in portraying to the casual outside observer that Massport must have all the correct answers about environmental impacts to its neighbors. The reality is that particulate matter from the airport is continuing to effect this community in an adverse manner. You never took the time to offer another view of the taxiway's impacts, you only spewed out Mr. Leo's yet-to-be-proven computer model data. Some believe that Massport's only goal is to get planes off the gates faster because that equates to lesser delays in their business model. More planes off of gates means more planes can arrive and depart from Logan, which translates into greater capacity and that is what area residents have been arguing against. We want greater regionalization of the airline industry in New England to take the burden off of East Boston and other neighboring communities, but Massport wants to cement its hold on the market. However, as I told you yesterday, other than for Congressman Michael Capuano, there is no local, state or federal political will to achieve true regionalization. Therefore, East Boston and surrounding communities will continue to shoulder the transportation burdens for the entire region.

Mary Berninger