Lawsuits over any proposed reconfiguration of the northern airfield at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) could halt other modernization projects, preventing an increase in landing fees and aviation regionalization, said Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents the 11th Council District, which includes LAX.
“If there are lawsuits over LAWA’s [Los Angeles World Airports’] plans for other elements of LAX modernization — such as reconfiguration of the north airfield — they could stop those projects, prevent us from increasing landing fees and halt regionalization,” said Rosendahl.
Rosendahl made his comments at the Playa del Rey Neighbors Association meeting Wednesday, April 2nd, at the Del Rey Church in Playa del Rey.
Los Angeles World Airports is the city entity that owns LAX and three other airports.
“The way to avoid that is not for neighborhoods to lay down their arms in the face of objectionable plans — the way to prevent lawsuits is for Los Angeles World Airports to improve the north airfield in a way that does not harm Westchester and Playa del Rey,” Rosendahl said.
Denny Schneider, president of ARSAC (Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion), said, “We approved the ‘green light’ projects in our 2006 settlement to restore LAX quickly to the airport that we can be proud of.
“LAWA should accelerate these projects. Proposed projects, like moving runways north, hold our community hostage to a plan for devastation and that will not be tolerated,” said Schneider.
Rosendahl said, “The most important thing we can do to protect our neighborhoods from LAX expansion is to aggressively promote and deliver regional aviation, but as long as it is cheaper to land at LAX than it is at other Southern California airports, regionalization will never happen.
“LAX has the cheapest takeoff and landing fees in the U.S. and if those costs are passed on to the airlines when the modernization projects are completed, it means LA/Ontario International Airport would look much better, and right now Ontario is like the ‘Maytag repairman’ waiting for business.
“It is imperative that we increase the airlines’ landing fees at LAX. The only way we are legally allowed to do that is to pass on the costs of airport improvements.
“To do so, we need to move forward on projects with broad support, such as the Midfield Terminal, the Consolidated Rental Car Center, the automated People Mover, the extension of the Green Line to LAX and the refurbishment of Tom Bradley International Terminal.”
Addressing claims by business leaders in Los Angeles that LAX is losing air carriers to other cities such as San Francisco, Rosendahl said that, on the contrary, nine new international air carriers will be utilizing LAX even if it is a “dump,” and that LAX still continues to be a main hub, with a dramatic increase this summer in tourists finding bargains in Los Angeles.
The idea that citizens from Santa Barbara to San Diego should rely on only one airport, LAX, is insane, Rosendahl said.
On the issue of public transportation and traffic gridlock, Rosendahl said that a master transportation plan is needed for Los Angeles, adding that he is opposed to making Pico Boulevard a one-way street, and suggesting that better timing of traffic lights should be looked at first.
California gives $50 billion more to the federal government than it gets back in federal funding, and citizens are reaching the tipping point with gridlock, Rosendahl noted.
Answering a question during public comment, Rosendahl said he is opposed to the Woodside Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) pipeline that is proposed to be located 27 miles offshore in Santa Monica Bay, with pipelines coming ashore in Playa del Rey, running underneath the El Segundo blue butterfly habitat area and under Westchester Parkway, adjacent to LAX.
He noted that the head of the AFL-CIO had strongly endorsed the LNG project.
Residents had expressed concern that the LNG pipeline would be yet one more target for terrorists focused on damaging LAX.
Also during public comment, some residents said that the hazardous cut-through traffic through Playa del Rey residential streets from the southern beach cities, with eight cars per minute during peak rush hour, is dangerous and restricts local residents from street access, and that the “No Right Turn” signs with posted peak traffic hours were not solving the problem.
Another resident pointed out that Playa del Rey is a tiny community and bears the brunt of LAX, water pollution, proposed new development at Toes Beach, and the exorbitant amount of cut-through traffic each day of commuters trying to reach the freeway, Santa Monica or other locations to get to work.
On the issue of street repair, Rosendahl told the audience it would take 62 years to fix all of the streets in Los Angeles that require work.
He spoke of a possible city ordinance that would require a homeowner selling a home to include funds in an escrow account to repair the sidewalk in front of the home, but real estate agents in the audience were strongly opposed to that idea.
One resident complained about developers that move heavy equipment on the streets, creating massive potholes and other road damage.
If developers are causing the problem, then they should pay for it, Rosendahl said.