Neighbors: If You Can't Beat 'Em ... Buy 'Em

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The FAA might not have money to hire inspectors or examiners these days, but it's spending $59 million to buy 122 houses and soundproof 1,000 more near Mississippi's Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. Another 1,300 homeowners will be paid $3,000 for right-of-flyover privileges, a strategy that's meant to ward off potential lawsuits, the Sun-Herald reported on Monday. The FAA will not fund noise-mitigation measures for houses built after 1998. After that, municipalities were expected to use compatible zoning and land-use rules to prevent noise conflicts. Still, airports around the country continue to spend millions to buy up or soundproof nearby older homes. The airport in Providence, R.I., for example, has spent over $90 million on noise mitigation, acquiring 160 properties and insulating 1,500 homes. Costs were shouldered 80 percent by the FAA and the rest by the state. At O'Hare in Chicago, more than $565 million has been spent on similar programs.