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LB Councilman Grabinski Votes (as member of So. Cal. Ass'n of Gov'ts Committee) To Recommend Regional Airport Scenario That Includes 3 Million Air Pasengers Annually at LB Airport by 2025

Scenario Assumes LB Airport Legally Restrained by Council

(Mar, 1, 2001, updated Mar. 2 to include comments by Councilman Grabinski) -- LB Councilman Ray Grabinski voted today as a member of the Transportation Committee of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to recommend to SCAG's governing body a regional aviation scenario that assumes LB Airport may handle 3 million pasengers per year by 2025.

The LB Airport figure is included as part of a larger SCAG regional aviation planning scenario that will be voted on in the coming weeks by SCAG's full Regional Council.

Mr. Grabinski's vote (and the Committee's action) was not specifically on the LB Airport figure. The Committee chose one regional aviation scenario out of several considered. SCAG's staff scenarios presented to the Committee all assumed 3 million (or slightly more) future air passengers per year for LB Airport.

LB Airport administrative analyst Mark Echmalian told that LB Airport handled 637,853 air passengers in 2000. On that basis, estimates (roughly and preliminarily) that 3 million air passengers per year at LB Airport could involve more than four and a half times more air passengers in 25 years than at present.

[ comment: Consider what LB would look like today if in 1975, officials invited actions consistent with doubling or tripling then-current air passengers at LB Airport.]

Mr. Echmalian said LB Airport currently has 14 of 41 available daily commercial flight slots filled; the figure hovered around 20 filled flight slots during part of 2000.

SCAG's aviation scenario assumes LB neighborhoods will continue to be protected (SCAG's phrase is LB Airport will be "constrained") by Council ordinance limiting LB Airport noise and flights. Large commercial flights at LB Airport were capped by the City Council at 41 per day.

However, exactly how a quadrupling of present air passengers could be accomplished under the current LB ordinance is presently unclear.

Councilman Grabinski's comments to

Councilman Grabinski spoke with after casting his SCAG Committee vote. Among his comments:

"The proposal here is for regional growth for 25 years, so I didn't support anything for doing anything right now. This plan is for 2025.

When you're at SCAG, you're voting for regions, you're not saying there's going to be no flights at this one, there's going to be no flights at that one but there'll be a bunch of flights someplace else.

All of the scenarios are talking about growth over 25 years and many of these places might not have any new flights, including Long Beach, because it's a local airport and the local airports determine what happens to them...

[SCAG is] not quadrupling the flights at Long Beach airport. They're projecting that in 25 years, if steps aren't taken, that's what's going to be spread over the region. So, that's how you do this kind of planning...

This is not raising any flight levels at Long Beach airport. This is a projection for the region over 25 years. If it said that we were going to add any more flights in Long Beach, this would have been brought back to the City of Long Beach. This is a regional plan for millions of people, and the plan is put into place so that we can determine where airports will be expanded if they are, where new airports will be...

Long Beach might not get any more flights than the 41 it already has, because high speed rail is going to come in, to take people to the L.A. area, the Ontario area, to other places and back...

This has no impact whatsoever on any local airport in terms of how many flights they have. We control [our] local airport, L.A. controls their airport and so do these other folks, you know, the folks who will have the new airport. And what this does is it puts out a planning document to let people know that if growth continues east of us, that they're going to have to take more flights.

And that with the growth that's projected for the Los Angeles area, LAX and Long Beach will likely have more flights 20 years from now, if the two cities choose to have them. But we own our airport, so this is not saying we're going to have any additional flights..."

Regarding LB's current 41 flight daily limit on large commercial flights, Councilman Grabinski said, "I've always supported that and I continue to."

SCAG's Transportation Committee voted (with Mr. Grabinski voting "yes") to send to SCAG's full governing body a scenario that assumes LAX is constrained to 78 million passengers and an El Toro airport would handle nearly 30 million air passengers.

A vote by SCAG's full governing body is expected next month.

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