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Either replace the outdated terminal, or return $42 million in FAA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