Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts is the largest airport in the six state New England region and a regional hub for connecting passengers. Yet Logan is consistently ranked as one of America’s most delayed airports. In 2000, Logan ranked as the sixth most delayed airport overall and had the second highest number of arrival delays in the nation. These delays not only inconvenience the traveling public and adversely affect the regional economy but also result in increased complexity for the nation’s air traffic system. The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) had long advocated that a new runway would ease delays and play a crucial role in the future economic health of the airport and Boston. However, strong opposition from the Mayor of Boston, most of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, as well as a 28 year court injunction prevented the project from moving forward.
Massport retained O’Neill and Associates to work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Massachusetts congressional delegation to develop support for a policy approach which would allow the runway project to successfully complete the environmental process before August of 2002.
O’Neill and Associates helped Massport in its relationship with the FAA and the congressional delegation as the environmental work progressed. The final ruling by the FAA provided a path for resolution of the major issues of safety, delay and noise at Logan. At the same time, responding to concerns raised by the City of Boston and the delegation, the ruling established a mitigation package that must be adhered to for the project to be implemented. During the process, O’Neill and Associates and the administrator of the FAA met regularly with the delegation and the City to help fashion a compromise. O’Neill and Associates’ efforts also included one-on-one sessions with other decision makers and the media.
The Record of Decision for the Logan project was signed in August of 2002. The Boston Globe hailed the decision and the mitigation package that was developed. Senator Edward Kennedy, reflecting the views of the delegation, said, “Today’s decision represents a good balance between transportation infrastructure needs and quality of life for the residents who are affected by this development.”
The court injunction preventing construction which had been in place for 28 years was recently modified by the court. In her decision, the judge virtually followed the blueprint outlined in the FAA’s Record of Decision saying that if Massport and the FAA follow the requirements outlined in the Record of Decision, construction of the runway can begin.