Rep. Henry Waxman says LAX can handle more air traffic

Congressman Henry Waxman dropped by the Los Angeles News Group’s Torrance office on Monday for a chat with the editorial board. Among the topic covered was whether — and how — to promote a network of airports in Southern California.

Many residents who live near Los Angeles International Airport say it’s vital that the region promote alternatives like L.A./Ontario International Airport, Long Beach Airport and Burbank Bob Hope Airport. The idea is that LAX will soon become too congested, and many ¬†other airports have excess capacity.

But Waxman told the editorial board it makes sense to continue promoting LAX. He said he is in favor of a LAX plan, which passed the L.A. City Council this spring, to increase the distance between two parallel runways on the north side of the airfield. The goal, airport officials say, is to improve safety and operational efficiency.

“I know Bill Rosendahl, the former city councilman now, was very much against it,” Waxman said. “He argued to me that we ought to send more of the air transportation to some of the satellite airports. Well, I don’t know why. If LA can accommodate it by separating runways and making it safer, we ought to have the business right here.”

Most residents living near LAX say the runway move is unnecessary and that it will bring extra noise and pollution to their neighborhoods. But Waxman said he disagrees.

“I was at a community meeting where someone from Westchester said: ‘It’s safe enough,'” Waxman said. “Well, you say it’s safe enough because you worried about the consequences. But I’m told the consequences are not going to be all that you feared. And I take the word of all the people who are involved on safety.

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  • bobtube

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair.

    Clearly, Congressman Waxman has failed to read or to understand the 2010 North Airfield Safety Study, which concluded that the miniscule safety benefit of moving the runway could not justify its enormous cost*. Nor has he understood LAX’s own EIR, which shows that moving the runway would make airfield operations LESS efficient than leaving it where it is now. I don’t know why Congressman Waxman insists on spouting such ignorant, ill-informed rubbish, or why he refused to meet with his own constituents who oppose moving the runway before announcing he’s throwing them under the bus, but I’m sure Upton Sinclair nailed the reason. I used to admire Congressman Waxman immensely. Pity

    * In Seattle, runway costs exploded from an estimate of about $215M to a final cost of $1.1 BILLION. The airport director who oversaw that financial bomb: Gina Marie Lindsey, who is now Executive Director at LAX. Does it smell a little fishy that in 2008 Ms Lindsey was accused of manipulating the selection process to designate DMJM — the firm that oversaw the Seattle runway project — to oversee LAX modernization?

  • Gene

    It’s quite unfair for a professional politician to stand and claim that there more room in the nation’s Grid system when we have the current public safety issue that no aircraft can go around.

  • Andre Leonard

    After 42 years of collecting congressional paychecks and looking at the shape our country is in. Henry Waxman, a career politician is the last person I would believe.

    The residents who will be hearing more planes day and night and smelling the jet exhaust are the ones to be believed.

    • Erik Griswold

      Not only the jet exhaust, but the car exhaust brought to LAX by the “down-winders” who will increasingly be forced to use LAX over ONT.

  • Erik Griswold

    And ironically, it was Waxman (and Yaroslavsky) who prevented the Subway, which could by now be at the least sporting a station very close to LAX, from being built west of Koreatown.