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FAA tells officials to get moving

Laura Sturza

Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Marion Blakey wants to

end 20 years of wrangling over a new Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena

Airport terminal, but won’t offer a noise curfew in exchange for a

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new facility, as some local officials had hoped.

At a meeting Wednesday in Washington, D.C., with local

representatives, Blakey asked them to make a decision in 60 days:

Either replace the outdated terminal, or return $42 million in FAA

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grants used to pay for the $86-million former Lockheed B-6 property

that the airport bought for a new facility.

“I think she wants us to get with it, get it done and get it over

with,” Glendale Councilman Bob Yousefian said.

Others attending the meeting included council members and airport

commissioners from the cities that govern the airport, as well as

Reps. Howard Berman (D-Mission Hills), Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Brad

Sherman (D-Burbank) and Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles).

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Roadblocks to a new terminal primarily center on local demands to

control noise by restricting growth, and Burbank’s goal of tying a

new terminal to a mandatory overnight curfew -- which can be granted

only by the FAA.

“There is no linkage between a curfew and a new terminal,” said

Charlie Lombardo, a Burbank Airport Authority commissioner, in

explaining Blakey’s position. “You wouldn’t want to hitch your wagon

to that anymore.”

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But while Blakey cannot legally tie the two together -- federal

law prohibits the agency from bartering a curfew for a new terminal

-- it does not mean that both will not be approved.

“As a practical matter, the two are linked,” Schiff said.

The airport is conducting a noise analysis that is the first step

to gaining the agency’s approval for a curfew. It is expected to be

complete next year.

Striking a deal on a new terminal would require agreement by the

airport and the city of Burbank, as well as a vote of approval by

Burbank residents. Burbank City Council members Stacey Murphy and

Dave Golonski, who attended the meeting, declined to comment about

how the city will proceed with plans for the airport until they

consult with fellow council members at their meeting Tuesday.

The airport previously said a new terminal was needed to meet

federal guidelines for a 750-foot distance from terminal to runway.

Burbank’s terminal is 300 feet from the closest runway, but the FAA

said it is safe as is, though it could be safer with a relocated

terminal.

Blakey was “extremely reluctant to assign a top-level person” to

work with local representatives in meeting the agency’s guidelines

for a new terminal, Golonski said.

“I’m disappointed ... it was pretty much rejected out of hand,”

Golonski said.

But Schiff said he plans to return to Blakey with a specific set

of proposals and another request for the administrator to assign an

FAA liaison to work with local officials.


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