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Court: With airport expansion, more homes eligible for soundproofing

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Homeowners in Minneapolis, Richfield and Eagan could be eligible for the same type of subsidized sound-proofing that thousands of others near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport have had installed.

A court has approved extending the soundproofing program if noise increases with airport expansion, as many residents fear, the Star Tribune reports.

The $1.5 billion airport expansion plan, designed to relieve current congestion and meet future airport traffic growth, has sparked new rounds of questions over noise and demand.

It's estimated that 1,131 southwest Minneapolis could get $25 million worth of soundproofing, or improved soundproofing for some of those who already have it, the newspaper reports.

Exactly which homeowners – and how many – might qualify is still up in the air, subject to factors that include aircraft models and future runway use, the Star Tribune notes. Officials warn that any new projects won't be happening soon – 2017 at the earliest.

Disputes and lawsuits over airport noise have been flying for years. The new deal amounts to an extension of one approved in 2007, when the Metropolitan Airports Commission, seeking to settle a lawsuit filed by Minneapolis, Richfield and Eagan, approved an agreement to offer up to $130 million to up to 9,700 households for noise-muffling projects. Ultimately, 6,659 homeowners got some kind of noise-mitigation work done, the Star Tribune says.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission's noise program website has more info about soundproofing projects.

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