WASHINGTON – Nearly 600 people who live near Buffalo Niagara International Airport will live a quieter life in the years ahead thanks to a $5.2 million federal grant that New York’s U.S. senators announced Tuesday.
The federal money will be used to insulate or otherwise improve 187 homes in Cheektowaga, Amherst and Williamsville that are so close to the airport that the roar of the planes coming and going poses a significant problem for residents, the senators said.
The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which will administer the grant, did not provide more specific street locations for the 599 homes that are eligible for improvements under the program.
“The funding will help address noise pollution from the airport and mitigate the disturbances for nearby residents, who will now be able to better enjoy the benefits of having an airport close to home without as much of the trouble,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.
The grant is the latest of several that the NFTA has received in recent years to address the problem of noise surrounding the airport. Previous grants have provided funding to improve 820 homes, benefitting 2,550 residents who live near the airport, said C. Douglas Hartmayer, the NFTA’s director of public affairs.
The transit agency’s board plans to consider a contract for the latest round of work in September, and once that contract is approved, work should start in October and take six to seven months to complete, Hartmayer said.
Insulation, doors, windows and air conditioning are available under what the NFTA calls its “QuiterHome” program.
“Residents talk to an installer who helps them decide what is best for them,” Hartmayer said.
The latest grant will leave only 50 noisy homes left to be fixed, and the NFTA hopes to get an additional federal grant to pay for those improvements.
The Federal Aviation Administration is providing the funding through its Airport Improvement Program.
The FAA determined in 2007 that a number of homes in the area near the airport were eligible for improvements, given that their proximity to the airport caused frequent noise that hurt property values.
But the funding for those improvements has come in dribs and drabs, meaning that some homeowners have been waiting for the improvements for more than five years.
“This is an important investment for the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and the surrounding community,” said Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y. “Improving the airport’s infrastructure to reduce noise can help improve the quality of life and real estate value for the nearly 600 residents who live in the area.”