BURBANK : Airport Officials Agree to Rethink Expansion Plans

Handing opponents a partial victory, Burbank Airport officials agreed Monday to cancel a public hearing and rethink plans for financing a larger terminal.

The Airport Authority dropped a bid to persuade the Burbank City Council to approve issuance of $100 million in tax-exempt bonds needed to purchase land for the new terminal. Under federal law, tax-exempt bonds cannot be issued without a public hearing and approval from the Burbank City Council or other elected officials.

A new terminal is still planned, but the process will take more time, said Brian Bowman, president of the airport's nine-member operating board, the Airport Authority.

"Time is needed to communicate with the city and with the community," Bowman said. "The project is still going forward, except we're just going forward at a more reasonable pace, where everyone clearly understands what we're trying to do."

Strong opposition to the pace of expansion surfaced from Burbank Vice Mayor Dave Golonski, who is expected to become mayor in May, and from a new majority on the City Council.

Alternatives include seeking approval for tax-exempt bonds from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, raising money from the private sector and issuing taxable bonds--which would cost airport officials millions of dollars more in interest compared to tax-exempt bonds, but not require the Burbank City Council's approval.

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