City Council OKs $11-Billion LAX Overhaul

Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles City Council today approved an $11-billion plan to give Los Angeles International Airport, the world’s fifth-busiest, its biggest overhaul in its 75-year history.

The plan -- a decade in the making -- would be the airport’s first remodeling since the 1984 Olympics.

The council members approved the measure by a 12-3 vote. The expansion generally has been favored by business, labor and the airlines. Many neighbors of the airport, however, were opposed as they were concerned about more noise and traffic.

The plan, which has cost $130 million so far to develop, proposes to make runways safer, accommodate larger jets, including the 555-seat Airbus A380, which is due to arrive in 2006 at LAX.

But the expansion represents a compromise, worked out between Mayor James K. Hahn and Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski earlier this year. It postpones the most controversial projects, including a central passenger check-in facility, which would be considered for a later phase.

The first phase, costing $3-billion, includes moving the southernmost runway 55 feet to make the runways safer. In addition, a consolidated rental car center would be built, an elevated people mover with a transit hub, an employee parking lot and more gates at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

The Los Angeles County Airport Land Use Commission opposed the plan, ruling it violates the airport’s land use plan. So, the council will have to take a second vote in December.

The county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to ask federal officials to delay approval of Hahn’s plan until the local review process and any lawsuits are completed. In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration will start its review if the council approves the proposal.

Tuesday’s council hearing was a virtual replay of dozens of hearings held on the plan in the last two years.

Opponents, who announced that they have collected 17,000 signatures from airport-area residents, say it fails to limit growth to 78 million annual passengers and to spread future air traffic among other airports in the region.

Times Staff Writer Jennifer Oldham contributed to this story.