Arlington and Montgomery counties team up to take on airplane noise

Is airline noise ruining the quality of life in both Arlington and Montgomery counties? Following residents complaints, both county governments are teaming up to take on airplane noise from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

This partnership is unique, considering Arlington County is in Virginia and Montgomery County is in Maryland -- different jurisdictions, different states, but the same goal.

On Wednesday, FOX 5 talked to Libby Garvey, an Arlington County council member. She says the idea is for both counties to investigate why so many people in their communities say they are fed up with airplane noise.

"To the north of the airport, that's where a lot of the noise issues are and that's where it's toughest, because of the river, so it was pretty clear that we were in the same boat, and we weren't getting anywhere so let's pool resources and work together," said Garvey.

Arlington and Montgomery County will split the study cost. They will focus on the northern aircraft departure route out of Reagan National.

At issue is the new flight routing implemented by the FAA in 2014, called "nextgen" routes. The problem with those routes is that they send planes up the Potomac River, past Bethesda to the east and McLean to the west.

The old system spread out the planes over a wider area, which spread out the noise. Arlington and Montgomery County say the way FAA does it now, it concentrates the aircraft over tighter corridors as they climb to their cruising altitude.

FOX 5 reached out to both the FAA and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority that runs Reagan National. The MWAA says their responsibility is to run the airport and that the FAA is in charge of the routes. The FAA told FOX 5 that they were aware of the complaints but wouldn't comment due to pending litigation.