LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Airport officials approved a plan Tuesday to expand and modernize Los Angeles International Airport, including a controversial proposal to move a runway closer toward residential homes.
The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners’ approval of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the LAX Specific Plan Amendment Study (SPAS) would move the airport’s northern-most runway another 260 feet north.
While officials say reconfiguring the runways on the north airfield would bolster safety and better accommodate the A380 Airbus and other larger aircraft, residents in Westchester and Playa del Rey fear the move would increase noise and air pollution.
Commissioners voted 6-1 in favor of the move, which would allow for the construction of a new taxiway to address an operational problem on the parallel runways that were blamed for a 1991 runway crash that killed 34 people.
CBS2′s Bobby Kaple reports officials with Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) maintain that even if the runway is moved, no neighborhood homes would be in jeopardy and that all changes would be on the airport’s current property.
Gary Toebben, president of the L.A. Chamber of Commerce, previously told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO that commissioners would ultimately vote in favor of the proposal “because the EIR and the staff have spelled out a very compelling argument for the movement of the runway.”
The proposal – estimated to cost approximately $5 billion and is expected to be paid for entirely by LAWA – will head to the city Planning Commission for a hearing on Feb. 14.