In what was called a “big win for the community and a big win for LAX,” it was announced on August 17 that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between LAWA and the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion (ARSAC) over modernization plans at LAX had been negotiated. The tentative agreement, which goes before the L.A. City Council on Wednesday, August 31 for a public hearing and vote, would allow LAWA to move forward with billions of dollars in projects to help modernize LAX, including safety enhancements and the proposed Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP) without the threat of litigation from ARSAC.
While the agreement doesn’t explicitly mention anything about not moving the north runway, it will effectively halt the 2013 proposal that called for moving LAX’s northernmost runway 260 feet closer to Westchester and Playa del Rey.
Said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at a press conference at Fire Station 5, “How can people even ask for something like moving the runway, which is about the operations of the airport, when years before we said we are going to make this better for the community, we are going to deal with the traffic, we are going to modernize our terminals, we are going to bring public transportation and we never did that? This enshrines that we have to do that stuff first.”
Mayor Garcetti was joined at the press conference by Councilman Bonin, ARSAC President Denny Schneider, LAWA CEO Deborah Flint, Board of Airport Commissioners Vice President Valeria Velasco and NCWP President Cyndi Hench.
Said Councilman Mike Bonin, “What the agreement says essentially is that what the airport needs to do first to make the airfield safe and secure is a number of interim improvements, some reconfigurations of runway status lights, a number of different things, some of which I have been calling for a while, a lot of which the airport is eager to do. Those need to be done and completed, and then they need to be in place for three years before the airport can study another alternative. It means that for all intents and purposes, the approval of moving the runway north that was done in 2013 is halted. It does not mean that the airport can’t revisit at some point in the future. What it says is that safety is so damn important to us we want to get it safe, right now, and we want to get the maximum safety we can so the airfield improvements will start much sooner.”
Interested in attending the L.A. City Council Meeting? The public hearing and vote will take place Wednesday, August 24 at 10 am at City Hall, located at 200 N. Spring St. in Downtown L.A.