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"Burbank Airport balks at FAA's deadline"
Tuesday, April 22, 2003
Delay sought in airport deadline
$46 million due for terminal never built
By Susan Abram
The Los Angeles (CA) Daily News
Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority officials asked on Monday for an
open-ended extension of a 60-day FAA deadline demanding that it return $46
million for a passenger terminal that was never built.
Airport Authority members said they need more time from the Federal Aviation
Administration to consider the fate of 56 acres of unused airport land and
the FAA grants used to purchase it.
"We're not being specific in terms of days or time needed," said Airport
Authority President Chris Holden of the request to the FAA. "We want to
articulate that more time is needed."
During a meeting in February with FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, delegates
from the cities of Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena -- which operate the
airport -- were given until this Saturday to approve plans for a terminal or
return the money.
Local officials had called that deadline far-fetched, given the long
stalemate between the community and the Airport Authority in deciding to
build a new terminal.
FAA spokeswoman Marcia Adams on Monday said she could not anticipate the
agency's response to the request for more time.
"I don't think there are any outlined expectations," Adams said. "Until we
receive that letter, we cannot speculate."
Burbank City Council members want to wait for federal approval of a noise
study -- to be completed in two years -- before taking any action on plans
for a terminal. "We have a lot of stakeholders who are interested in this,
and we need to reach out to them," Holden said.
Burbank City Manager Mary Alvord said the authority was softening its stance
taken in a November letter by Holden to the FAA, in which he said no local
consensus could be reached on building a terminal.
Alvord said the authority understands that many stakeholders want to hold on
to the property.
'That November letter didn't speak for all of the stakeholders," Alvord
said. "It's important to us to have all the options open. The council is
waiting to hear from the authority on how they plan to hold on to the
Burbank officials -- who for years have battled public opposition to a
larger terminal -- now say an economic downturn in the airline industry
makes it unlikely that a new terminal would be needed for at least two
years. City Council members have said they would work with the authority to
rent out portions of the land to help offset the costs.
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