Voters asked to decide fate of new Burbank airport terminal

Bob Hope Airport in Burbank could get a face lift if voters approve plans for a new passenger terminal.; Credit: Rebecca Plevin/KPCC
Sharon McNary Burbank voters on Tuesday will determine whether the Bob Hope Airport moves ahead with plans to build a new $450 million passenger terminal located a safer distance from the runway than the current terminal.
The 80-year-old terminal got its last facelift in the 1990s, but it remains a scant 250 feet from the runway. Current federal safety standards require a minimum of 750 feet.   

Burbank city voters, if they approve Measure B, would clear the Airport Authority to move ahead with initial plans for a new terminal.

Yes on B committee spokeswoman Linda Walmsley said the new terminal would be bigger, more convenient and farther from landing jets. The number of gates would remain the same and the old terminal would be demolished.

" They're not adding more flights, and the flight path is not going to change either," she said.

The terminal would be about 50 percent larger than the current building. It would have indoor baggage checking and luggage carousels and more food and convenience shops.

But Measure B comes with a change in governance over the airport that makes residents like David Spell wary.

David Spell with the campaign against Measure B said the ballot's language shifts approval of the terminal's final plan away from voters and into the hands of the airport's governing board of commissioners.

"What we're giving up with this vote is the ability to limit any expansion in the future," Spell said.
The airport is governed by three commissioners each from the cities of Burbank, Pasadena and Glendale, who make up a joint authority that oversees the airport. They each have equal power. Under Measure B, any future proposals regarding changes to the terminal and the number of flights would require approval of at least two Burbank commissioners, effectively giving them veto power over those issues.

Spell said Measure B would strip away the authority of Burbank voters to give final approval to a new terminal plan that they have held since 2000.

The Yes on B committee is comfortable with that shift because the commissioners from Burbank would also get new powers to veto significant changes in airport operations, Walmsley said.

If the measure fails, the existing facility would stay as it is. 

If the measure passes, the traveling public shouldn't see much of a disruption during the construction of the new terminal. The old one will stay in operation until the new one is finished. 

This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at

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