Despite agreement among some local leaders that the Los Angeles International Airport should be expanded, there is no room for any such expansion. LAX is surrounded by residential communities and businesses. Moreover, experts have negated the so-called safety reasons for moving the north runway.
If the goal is to have an airport that “presents tourists with an inviting first look at Los Angeles,” perhaps it is time to site a new international airport somewhere with more room and turn LAX into a regional airport.
It was shortsighted in 1928 to put LAX where it is, and we should not compound that error with prohibitively expensive efforts to try to increase its footprint, particularly when the reason for doing so is to elevate tourists’ aesthetic sensibilities over the health and safety concerns of taxpaying residents.
We too found that many of “the same opportunities for growth” were identified when we led the development of the L.A. County Strategic Plan for
Economic Development (2010-14), an effort that brought together more than 1,080 stakeholders from business, labor, education and the environmental community to create and implement 52 common-sense strategies to grow the economy.
Even so, merely identifying the same opportunities won’t get us anywhere close to where we need to be. It will require that our leaders overcome caution and self-interest to summon the moral courage to act, embrace the notion that great communities begin with good jobs, and operate with urgency.
Only then can we translate those “same opportunities for growth” into real, transformational action that fulfills the basic human need for a job.
The writer is president and chief executive of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.