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Baton Rouge Metro Airport Master Plan Approved

December 11, 2003

Airport Master Plan Approved

The Metro Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a 20-year master plan for 
Baton Rouge Metro Airport that calls for $192 million of new construction.

More than 20 residents of the north Baton Rouge area surrounding Metro Airport 
attended the downtown council meeting to complain about the master plan.

The criticism centered on how obtrusive airport noise is on everyday life and 
on the lack of information made available about the plan.

"There has been inadequate time for the majority of citizens to learn about the 
real impact these changes will have," said Henry L. Stewart III, a north Baton 
Rouge resident and longtime critic of airport expansion.

The master plan, which was commissioned in 2001 for $1 million, was drawn up by 
consultants Leigh Fisher Associates. The plan calls for:

· Extending the runway that runs from the southwest corner of Metro Airport to 
the northeast and moving the intersection of Plank and Blount roads 250 feet to 
provide a bigger safety cushion at the end of the runway.

· Building an air cargo facility to accommodate regular cargo flights. The 
airport has none now.

· Expanding the terminal lobby and buying new loading bridges for the regional 
jets that are becoming more prevalent.

· Moving military installations and other facilities on the airport access 
road away from the main entrance to accommodate other uses.

· Enlarging the parking garage.

Much of the work would be done within the next 10 years. Airport Director 
Anthony Marino said he has already applied for millions of dollars in federal 
funds to begin work, contingent on the master plan being approved quickly.

"Getting back in line with funding would take more than a year," Marino warned 
the council.

The plan had gone before the Metro Council in November, but Councilman Ulysses 
Z. "Bones" Addison, whose district includes the airport, won a two-week delay 
to let more people know about it.

Marino said he had held 14 public meetings to discuss the plan in recent months 
and had notified people in surrounding neighborhoods and churches via the 
multi-denominational Working Interfaith Network.

"To say they are not aware of this master plan under way at the airport, then 
someone must be living in a vacuum," Marino said. 

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