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Be Careful of What You Plan For at LAX

September 16, 2003

Re "LAX Plan: What's the Rush?" editorial, Sept. 12: Mayor James Hahn's airport plan needs a long look. Plan supporters continue to claim, for example, that it will bring the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Green Line light rail directly to LAX. In reality, the plan's "direct connection" requires riders to get off at Aviation Boulevard, descend a level, traverse a long moving sidewalk -- all with luggage in tow -- and then board the airport's own incompatible automated light-rail system to travel the last two miles to the terminals.

This pointless transfer is the most recent example of the turf wars that left the Green Line stunted at the border of the airport's property in the first place. The City Council should reject any plan that doesn't bring the Green Line to the terminals and include a blueprint for extending it north of the airport property to Westchester.

Roger Rudick

Los Angeles

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Limiting the number of annual passengers at LAX to 78 million by limiting the number of gates, as is proposed, will not work. In the draft environmental impact report, it is interesting to read that the current capacity is theoretically limited by "curb-front in the CTA [central terminal area] where passengers are dropped off and picked up." The remote check-in facilities proposed will allow for more curb-front, which will allow for expansion. I thought this was about safety. The gates would then be the limiting factor, and we know where this is going. Incremental expansion. Just add a few more gates and here we grow!

It is illegal to interfere with interstate commerce, so any attempt to limit or restrict growth would do exactly that -- and would be challenged. Secondly, the parties in control want growth. The economic incentives are too great to resist. It will take an act of Congress to limit the growth at LAX.

Michael W. Cassidy

Torrance

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