The Los Angeles City Council is set to vote Tuesday on the latest
round of proposed improvements for LAX, including a controversial project to
move the northernmost runway closer to neighborhoods in Westchester and Playa
The runway plan is opposed by Councilman Eric Garcetti, who is a candidate for mayor in the May 21 election. His runoff opponent, City Controller Wendy Greuel, has yet to take a position on the matter.
The $4.76-billion package of improvements includes terminal additions, an elevated people mover and a transportation center with a station for light rail trains.
The most controversial proposal is a $652-million project to move the northern runway 260 feet closer to neighborhoods to make room for a center taxiway -- an improvement that was added to the southern runway complex several years ago.
Advocates on both sides of the separation proposal plan to turn out in force for what will probably be a contentious and lengthy public hearing before the council votes.
Proponents say the runway plan will increase safety and make it easier for the airport to manage the largest commercial jets, such as the giant Airbus A380, which now requires special handling when it arrives at LAX.
Opponents contend that the project will increase noise, pollution and traffic congestion, particularly during construction of the relocated runway. Less harmful options are available, they say, and the planned move would not substantially improve safety or airport operations.
The latest round of improvements, including the runway separation, have already been approved by the airport commission, the city's Planning Commission, two council committees and the Los Angeles County airport land use commission.
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