A proposed jobs program to attract residents affected by operations at Los Angeles International Airport cannot be supported by airport revenue funds, the FAA told officials at the busy airport this week.
The Los Angeles Times reports airport officials were told that since the airport receives funds from the FAA for improvement projects, LAX must comply with a law that says the airport cannot use its own revenues on anything other than activities related to airport operations — and not matters of “general economic development, [or] marketing and promotional activities, that are unrelated to the airport.”
Airport administrators told the Times they believe the jobs program is needed for airport development, because the program is part of a settlement reached last December between LAX and residents in surrounding neighborhoods. That settlement also put an end to the airport’s 10-year, $150 million Master Plan for growth, in exchange for allowing the airport to expand its south runway.
The settlement also calls for the airport to support traffic and noise mitigation projects, streetscaping, and job training for neighborhoods and residents around the airport — and that’s the program now being questioned by the FAA.
Officials with LAX say they’re not done arguing their case to the agency.
“We are looking at appealing the findings,” said Los Angeles World Airports spokesperson Nancy Castles. “We’re also looking at perhaps pursuing alternative funding options if necessary or redesigning the jobs program.”
The FAA’s move also struck City Councilman Tony Cardenas as odd. He is the former chair of the council committee that oversees the airport, and he also helped negotiate the benefits package in the settlement.
The FAA’s “interpretation is unclear and does not allow us to give back to the families impacted by the airport,” Cardenas said.
Editor’s Note: Exactly when did elected officials in California determine that they could do what ever they wanted with airport funds? The FAA is correct in its ruling here.