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Mon, Dec 05, 2005

LAX Scraps Major Expansion

Compromise Ends 10-Year Master Plan

Plans to expand and update Los Angeles International Airport have been scrapped after meeting  prolonged resistance by local civic groups and neighbors who have fought the ambitious $11 billion development project.

In a joint statement issued by the mayor's office and LA World Airports officials, the settlement will cap airport growth at 75 million annual passengers  -- or about 14 million more than went through the airport's gates in 2004. The airport must also work to reduce traffic congestion and provide soundproofing to nearby homes. In exchange, lawsuits filed against the airport will be dropped, and local groups will no longer prevent the airport from rebuilding the south runway, which LAX maintains would further enhance safety and reduce runway incursions.

"I am elated that at long last we have the ability to move forward with a rational, community-sensitive plan for LAX that allows for sensible improvements for the people of Los Angeles and millions of world travelers who depend on it," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, as was reported in Air Transport Weekly. Villaraigosa's office pushed the settlement effort ahead.

The settlement also puts an end to the 10-year, $150 million LAX Master Plan project, which would be effectively dead upon approval of the settlement by local and federal officials.

The settlement also states LAWA will provide $266 million over the next 10 years to Inglewood, Los Angeles County, El Segundo and the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion for traffic and noise mitigation, streetscaping and job training, as well as an additional $60 million for "various air quality and environmental justice programs."



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