Assemblymember Bloom Applauds Agreement to Close Santa Monica Airport

Saturday, January 28, 2017

City Council Deal Brings an End to a Decades-Long Effort  

SACRAMENTO - Today on January 28, 2017, the Santa Monica City Council announced an agreement with the U.S. federal government to close the Santa Monica Airport and return control of the airport to the city’s residents on December 31, 2028. The agreement brings an end to a longstanding, decades-long battle to close the airport.

“I congratulate the city council, manager, attorney, and all of the city staff who have doggedly pursued a successful strategy and brought an end to a decades-long effort,” said Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica). “As the former Mayor of Santa Monica, I worked on this issue for the nearly 14 years of my council tenure and recognize the tenacity, courage, and resilience that it takes to go up against a massive federal agency that had dug in its heels for decades. Today’s settlement is a watershed moment in Santa Monica history that benefits the city and many surrounding communities”.

The deal, negotiated with the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Justice, will allow the airport to close on December 31, 2028 and immediately shortens the runway to 3,500 feet, a step that will significantly reduce jet traffic and commercial charter flights. Following the closure of the airport, the residents of Santa Monica will regain control of its 227 acres of land.  The deal also dissolves pending legal disputes that had emerged following the City Council’s 2018 vote to close the airport.

The 4-3 City Council vote is the product of a longstanding battle to close the airport, one that has frustrated city officials, activists, and residents for decades. Over the years, as concerns about noise, safety, and environmental pollution mounted, numerous attempts to close the airport stalled and failed. A firsthand witness and participant in these efforts, Assemblymember Bloom met with the FAA during his time on the council and even traveled to Washington, D.C to negotiate with Congressman Jim Oberstar, chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at that time.

Although some on the city council and in the community raised concerns that the 2028 closure date is too far away, today’s decision ensures the closure of the airport and also significantly reduces airport operations until the airport’s final closure. Successfully litigating the close of the airport, an outcome that was far from certain, would likely have taken many years.

The airport land, once returned to the City of Santa Monica, will be designated for public use through parks, open space, or recreational areas, a decision that was made in 2014 through a citizens-led ballot initiative, Measure LC.

“I am pleased that airport will be closed and returned back to the citizens of Santa Monica,” said Assemblymember Bloom. “Today’s council vote will have significant impacts for generations to come as the land transitions to cleaner and safer uses that all of the area’s residents can benefit from.”

Richard Bloom chairs the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Transportation.  He represents California’s 50th Assembly District, which comprises the communities of Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood, and West Los Angeles.