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Expansion at Long Beach Airport Set to Take Flight

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Plans to expand the Long Beach airport have cleared a long-standing hurdle, as a Superior Court judge ruled yesterday that "that the city did not violate state law when it approved an environmental report for the expansion."

There has been tremendous tension between the city and residents regarding the potential harm to air quality and noise in the area if the airport receives the addition of a new parking garage and an expanded terminal. The Long Beach school district filed a suit in 2006 and "argued that dozens of schools would be affected by noise and demanded the city pay for soundproofing at those sites."

Proponents of the plan claim they have everyone's interests in mind. Rae Gabelich, 8th District Councilmember, recently declared the need to have more "teeth" in the current proposal for expansion, and published her thoughts on the issue, stating that "the council wants to see a modernized and improved airport terminal that the city can be proud of, that addresses the needs of airport security and accommodates the passengers utilizing Long Beach Airport." She added, though, is that she would not endorse "a project that circumvents the environmental process. A project that triples the size of the airport to the detriment of our neighborhoods, and needlessly jeopardizing our city’s valued noise ordinance."

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Friday's ruling makes way for the changes as-is. Currently the airport serves 1.2 million travelers annually, which could nearly quadruple in the coming years.

Photo by dykstranet via Flickr