Airport officials said the grant will help accelerate the benefits of the Quieter Home Program, which aims to insulate homes in the Peninsula area and elsewhere from the thunderous noise of jets flying overhead.
The program involves the upgrade or replacement of windows and sound insulation.
But ramping up the noise mitigation effort doesn't necessarily fly with some residents, who wonder if it is an attempt to keep neighbors quiet about future noise.
"The real question is, "˜Why are they stepping up the rate at which they're doing the [mitigation]?'" said Lance Murphy, a 12-year resident of Point Loma.
Murphy sits on the Airport Noise Advisory Committee of the Peninsula Community Planning Board.
As part of the program, residents participating in the program waive future claims in the form of an aviation easement on the property, which also carries over onto future homeowners, Murphy said.
The number of insulated homes reduces the number of homes impacted by the noise created by the flight paths. This is true for residents who want to live in a "closed box" with the windows shut, Murphy said.
His house currently sits just outside the Quieter Home Program's coverage area, he said. But the home may eventually become eligible if airport noise continues to increase in the future from a greater number of flights to and from Lindbergh Field, he said.
Eligibility is determined by a Community Noise Equivalent Level contour map like the one found on the airport's website.
According to Quieter Home Program manager Sjohnna Knack, state law requires the Airport Authority to insulate homes in the loudest areas. as determined by the map approved by the FAA. Houses within the 65-decibel-or-above zone are eligible for the program.
According to Murphy, 65 decibels is about as loud as a small outboard motor, enough to drown out a conversation at the dinner table.
Only single-family residences are eligible for the program, although certain homes are rushed to the front of the line.
"We feel that people who have owned their home longer should be weighted more [heavily]," Knack said. "They've listened to the noise the longest."
Once accepted into the noise mitigation program, members of a household can wait anywhere from nine months to a year for installation. But households must wait even longer to become eligible in the first place and then have to apply to be placed on a waiting list before even being accepted, Knack said.
The FAA and the Airport Authority have set the goal of reducing indoor noise by 5 decibels, which according to Knack is a significant decrease in noise level.
The FAA pays for about 80 percent of the cost for the program while the Airport Authority pays about 20 percent.
To date, the Airport Authority has spent about $49 million to upgrade or replace windows and sound insulation in about 752 homes, Knack said.
About 300 to 400 homes in the affected areas currently await sound insulation, she said. In all, the program will have involved the insulation of about 1,000 homes by spring 2008.
As the San Diego International Airport continues to grow it will reach capacity in the years ahead. Suhail Kahlil, Peninsula Community Planning Board member and representative on the Airport Noise Advisory Committee said programs like Quieter Home shows how important it is the community work with the Airport Authority to manage growth.
"This airport is a huge economic element and prosperity factor [unmatched] to any other employer," Kahlil said. "We have to manage our expansion to live with it in a way that doesn't affect the quality of our lives."
To find out if your home is eligible for insulation visit www.san.org/quieterhome/, or call the San Diego Regional Airport Authority at (619) 400-2660.