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FAA Plays Russian Roulette with LAX Air Safety

FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE - Los Angeles World Airports dropped a bomb into the laps of the City Council Transportation, Commerce, and Trade Committee last week.  LAWA revealed that the promised completion of LAX Runway Status Lights (RSL) installation scheduled for completion this year would be delayed for several years.  
RSL are like stoplights at the intersections of runways and taxiways.  They have been shown to be extremely effective in precluding near misses between aircraft—even more effective than moving and expanding runways—at less than one-tenth of one percent of the billions need to move runways!  

Sadly, the FAA delayed completion of RSL implementation despite the fact that the worst near-crash incursion in years occurred on a “fixed” south airfield runway at an intersection which has no RSL.  

The FAA is either unable or unwilling to invest a mere few million dollars needed to save lives.  Mayor Villaraigosa cares.  He directed LAWA to fund the first portion of Runway Status Lights two years ago as “pilot program” with the expectation that the FAA would finish the job.  

Communications are broken down at LAWA.  The Mayor and Council couldn't fix a problem they didn’t know existed!  LAWA knew more than six months ago that the FAA was reneging on their promise, yet did nothing to make the RSL project happen.  Looks like it’s time for Mayor Villaraigosa to jump on LAWA yet again!  

If this one issue fell into the “proverbial crack,” what else don’t we know?  Does anyone know what LAWA is studying as part of their new Master Plan Environmental Review?  Certainly no one in the communities surrounding LAX knows. Is this contributing to the reason that there is so little trust of what we are told by LAWA when they say, "trust us?"

(Denny Schneider is President Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion.  ARSAC supports the refurbishment and improvements at LAX in conjunction with establishment of a network of airports throughout Southern California.  A means of avoiding economic chaos if something happens at LAX.  Current operations concentrate over 75% of all regional air traffic at LAX) –cw

Tags: LAX, LAWA, Los Angeles World Airports, FAA, safety, air safety, runways, Mayor Villaraigosa

Vol 9 Issue 93
Pub: Nov 22, 2011