Burbank's Bob Hope Airport is a dream compared to LAX, but the 85-year-old facility faces some serious issues. The terminal is too small, too close to the runway, and is extremely susceptible to damage in an earthquake (it's coming!)—basically, it's an airport built for 1930. Officials have long been aware of and interested in fixing these problems; the latest round of preliminary plans to replace the aging terminal have been around since Fall 2013. The next step in the process was supposed to be town hall discussions to bring the plan to the public, in preparation for publishing the final draft of an environmental impact report sometime around now, but meetings have now been halted since last summer.
The airport itself is run by the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, an agency created for the sole purpose of managing the airport. Nine representatives—three from Burbank, three from Glendale, and three from Pasadena—govern the body, which makes decisions based on majority rule. Glendale and Pasadena, then, can effectively gang up on Burbank and push through measures on their own. Burbank wants to change the rules to so-called "consensus voting," which would mean major decisions would have to be agreed upon by two of the three members from each city—essentially, they want the power of veto. Some of the other members have proposed to give Burbank the veto, on the condition that the new airport terminal is built at the site for which it's currently proposed, "partly on vacant land and partly on a long-term parking lot, Economy Lot A," as the LA Times describes it. That deal would need to be approved by Burbank voters.
The site itself, of course, exists solely in the city of Burbank, so the design/build process has to go through the Burbank City Council. The council and the authority have agreed on some major points (earlier plans called for an expanded terminal with up to 27 gates, which Burbank officials strongly opposed; now both sides agree on 14), but the voting structure change remains a sticking point. Until Burbank gets what it wants, plans seem unlikely to go anywhere, which leaves 10 million Angelenos with a too-small, too-old terminal that might collapse in the next big earthquake. Politics are fun. —Ian Grant
· What's at stake in remodeling Burbank Airport [LAT]
· Burbank Unveils Plans to Replace Bob Hope Terminal Building [Curbed LA]