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LAX's commitment to expansion-control agreement questioned

A view of the entrance sign on Century Boulevard at LAX Airport.

A community group that challenged the planned expansion of Los Angeles International Airport in court is questioning whether the operators of LAX have violated a 2006 settlement agreement that limited growth at the nation’s third-busiest airport.

The Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion is seeking records from Los Angeles World Airports to determine if the agency has failed to comply with various settlement terms resulting from a lawsuit that contested an ambitious master plan for LAX backed by former Mayor James Hahn.

According to the main provisions of the agreement, the passenger volume at LAX was limited to 78.9 million a year, and the airport department was required to develop a regionalization plan to spread some of the future growth in air travel to other Southern California airports to relieve congestion at LAX. The airport handled about 62 million passengers last year.

“The settlement agreement was a very significant achievement, but ARSAC (the alliance) is concerned that its significance has been eroded by Los Angeles World Airport’s failure to implement many of its provisions,” wrote attorney Douglas P. Carstens in a letter sent last month to the airport department.

Attorneys for the alliance are looking into whether airport officials violated requirements related to air-quality studies, evaluations of traffic, the selection of an airport security consultant, mitigation of aircraft noise, the LAX master plan and the regionalization of air travel.

"We received their request and we are working to gather the documents and give them to the alliance in a timely manner," said Nancy Castles, a spokesperson for Los Angeles World Airports.

Airport officials have contended in the past they have been complying with the 2006 settlement agreement, particularly the requirement to develop a regionalization strategy.

If evidence is found of possible violations of settlement terms, the alliance may seek a court hearing to determine if Los Angeles World Airports  has defaulted on the agreement.

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— Dan Weikel

Photo: A view of the entrance sign on Century Boulevard at LAX Airport. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

 
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