its plans to expand the airport accordingly, hoping to get a quick
start en route to meeting a December deadline for baggage screening
imposed by the TSA.
Enter the Burbank City Council and the ongoing fallout from
Measure A, the ballot initiative that caps flights and puts a curfew
in place at the airport, along with requiring public approval before
any terminal expansion can take place. The council, while
acknowledging that Measure A on its face appears to be illegal,
nevertheless passed on Dec. 4 a resolution that delays planning
decisions about the use of airport-owned land and buildings until the
court reaches a decision about the legality of Measure A.
In essence, the Airport Authority can apply to build all the
baggage-screening facilities it wants, draw up plans and hire
contractors, but "staff will notify the applicant that the
application will be held in abeyance pending conclusion of the
pending litigation," City Council Resolution No. 26,140 reads.
The Airport Authority, in a July 2 letter to John Magaw, the TSA's
undersecretary for transportation security, asked for "guidance" in
handling the competing requirements of the federal government and the
city of Burbank, since "it is not clear whether the [Aug. 23 Measure
A] hearing will in fact occur on that date, whether Measure A will be
overturned or whether an appeal will be filed by either side and,
hence, how long the moratorium on airport project will be maintained
by the city," the letter reads.
"However, additional delay is largely immaterial, since if the
Authority is not permitted to proceed with construction well before
the current August court hearing date, it will be unable to meet the
requirements of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act by the
end of the year."
That letter was written a month ago, and nothing has changed,
since Measure A still hasn't gotten a court hearing. That's one more
month of construction on new facilities lost, one more month the
Airport Authority comes closer to failing to meet federal guidelines
put in place to improve security following the Sept. 11 attacks.