Many homeowners living near Louisville International Airport left out of previous sound reduction programs would qualify for a tax credit under legislation filed by one state lawmaker.
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Many homeowners living near Louisville International Airport left out of previous sound reduction programs would qualify for a tax credit under legislation filed by one state lawmaker.
The tax credit would allow homeowners to get back 20 percent of what they spend on sound insulation. It's among several bills that will be up for consideration when Kentucky lawmakers start their 2014 session in January.
It would expand the reach of assistance to thousands of people whose homes don't currently qualify for new windows and other insulation through the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, said Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville.
"These people tell me that their real estate values are threatened and the quality of their life is threatened," Wayne said. "These people are paying a price. The whole state is benefiting from the UPS jobs and the other jobs (at the airport)."
Wayne said he floated the idea last year at the statehouse, but said it was only preliminary. Wayne is promoting the bill's benefits for airport neighborhoods in Northern Kentucky, Lexington and elsewhere, saying he needs other lawmakers to support the measure.
Airport authority administrators have relocated some Louisville neighbors after an airport expansion. They then identified homes that qualified for no-cost sound insulation under Federal Aviation Administration guidelines.
So far, contractors have finished 157 homes and have 499 remaining, said Bob Slattery, the airport's noise officer.
The FAA contributes about 90 percent of the program's funding, with the airport paying the rest. The work includes outfitting homes with new sound-resistant windows and other insulation measures.
Nydia Regnier, a homeowner in the Schnitzelburg neighborhood, is nine houses down from assistance program's cutoff line.
"Surely, if your house shakes and you can't keep your artwork straight on the walls, then it's too loud," said Regnier, who keeps her windows closed at night because of the noise. "I nearly fell out of bed at 2 in the morning when the sound just blasted through my house."
The new legislation would help her, she said.
The noise is worst when air traffic controllers route overnight United Parcel Service airplanes over her neighborhood, she said.
Regnier said she didn't hear any planes when she toured and bought the home five years ago.
Wayne said he would be open to putting a $1 million statewide cap on the tax credit in the first year, then later increasing the amount available.
People who live in the airport area would file their income taxes, present receipts and documentation showing where they lived, and receive a credit on their taxes for the insulation work, Wayne said.
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