The Sound and the Fury

With $450 million at stake in the battle over airport noise, critics say one thing is missing: The public's voice

Last month the MAC contracted with John Brandl, dean of the Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, to negotiate with industry and citizen representatives to revive the council. But Brandl says he will not make any formal recommendations until July, well after MAC votes on how much money to spend on an insulation program. In the view of critics, the MAC's track record offers little reason for optimism.

"People are getting far more noise than they were led to believe by the MAC, and now they may not get the help they expected," Wagenius says. "The question now is whether MAC will live up to the commitments it made in 1996 [to provide full insulation]."

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