Today, Eric Garcetti stood with the community and voted to modernize LAX, but without causing Endless Carmageddon by expanding the North runways. It was not an easy vote, but it was the right vote. He gave this impassioned statement to his fellow Councilmembers before the rollcall.
Transcript of Garcetti's full remarks:
I was actually quite excited about today. I’m excited because there have been a lot of people we’ve heard from who have been on both sides of these issues who worked really hard to get here today. You’ve built 95% consensus – this airport needs to be modernized.
This airport’s passenger experience isn’t what we want. The public transit and transportation improvements are not what we’ve been waiting for. So we have this one area of disagreement over the last piece. Heartfelt on both sides on what we should or shouldn’t do.
But leadership is about making decisions. And we’re hear today to make an important decision. LA deserves a world-class airport, but the neighborhoods around the airport deserve a first-class neighbor.
Contrary to what was said, we don’t have to choose between modernization, expansion, safety and the community. We don’t have to do that. In fact, I’ll be very blunt with the community. If they came here and said, “I don’t want to see one more passenger at LAX.” I probably wouldn’t be with them. But it is extraordinary, as Mike Bonin put it, that they’re embracing the expansion of the airport. I want to thank them, because I don’t know how many other communities would do that.
We can have jobs for the building trades. We’re going to have important work to improve our community. But we shouldn’t hold one thing hostage to another. I feel deeply that the passenger who is arriving today is experiencing terminals which are not first class, is looking for public transit that doesn’t exist, is trying to get to a rental car facility using buses and a very complicated system that doesn’t represent what LA should be.
It is possible to create jobs today, to increase safety, to relieve traffic, to reduce pollution, and to increase the experience for those who are coming here. That is my priority. But I oppose moving the north runway to do that.
I believe neighborhoods deserve full information on traffic and construction that would disrupt their lives for years. And it’s not just their lives.
Until there are full answers, not just vague ones, on what will happen to Lincoln, I don’t want to see this city shut down any further. Just look at the 405 widening, and look at how poorly planned that was.
So today, I urge you to vote for something. To vote for the best environmental solution that are before us, Alts 2 and 9, and to do the work of Alts 2 and 9 first, then come back and ask us about moving the runways.