RICE (AP) - Minnesota's Transportation Department is updating its noise policy to better gauge public support for sound barriers and is trying to fund barriers along existing highways.

Officials are still drafting the policy changes that would change the way public votes are assessed following recommendations last year from the legislative auditor's office. The department is taking public comments on the policy until Jan. 7.

The department is also working to create a pathway for communities outside of the Twin Cities area to become eligible for state-funded noise barriers.

The department currently doesn't build a sound barrier if 50 percent or more of affected residents vote against it. The new policy would call for a second attempt to solicit input if less than 50 percent vote in favor.