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.