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County to Compile Report on Regionalizing SoCal Airports

The Los Angeles Planning Commission recently approved a plan to modernize LAX.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday asked its chief executive officer and legal staff to review efforts to regionalize Southern California airports.

The move comes less than two weeks after the city of Los Angeles' Planning Commission approved a modernization plan for Los Angeles International Airport that includes pushing the northern-most runway 260 feet closer to Westchester to widen a taxiway.

Proponents say the update will increase safety and allow LAX to accommodate large aircraft like 747s and Airbus 380s. Local residents oppose the move, saying it fails to comply with a 2006 settlement agreement intended to control airport traffic and noise. 

The agreement between the county, several municipalities and Los Angeles World Airports -- the city agency that operates LAX -- includes a mandate to expand other area airports to meet regional demand. LAWA, a department of the city of Los Angeles, also owns and operates the airports in Ontario and Van Nuys.

City Airport Commission President Michael Lawson has said relocation of the LAX runway would not displace any residents or businesses and would create less pollution and noise than current conditions. He called the solution a "reasonable and fair compromise" that would result in a "very significant and substantial increase in safety."

Some residents disagree.

Playa del Rey resident Lynn Edelman called the modernization plan "a very costly high-risk plan" and said airport officials were "trying to run out the clock on this board" while making no moves toward regionalization.

"The argument of safety is a fraud," Playa del Rey resident James Ouellet said.

The LAX plan is still subject to approval by the Los Angeles City Council and the Federal Aviation Administration.

A report back from county staffers is expected in 30 days.

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