Regional Airport Management Implementation Study Prepared for the Southern California Association of Governments
By Steven P. Erie, Norman Emerson and Scott MacKenzie RFP 06-048
STEVEN P. ERIE 7658 MAR AVENUE 551-0324 LA JOLLA, CA 92037 FAX: (858) 534-1691
Regional Airport Management Implementation Study Prepared for
The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Steven P. Erie, Ph.D., Project Manager Norman Emerson, Emerson and Associates Scott MacKenzie, M.P.P.
This study was financed with Federal Airport Improvement Program funds from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and local funds from SCAG. The contents of this study do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the FAA.
TABLE OF CONTENTS Page EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ………………………………………………………..
OVERVIEW AND OBJECTIVES ………………………………………….…….
STAKEHOLDER SURVEYS: METHODOLOGY AND MAJOR FINDINGS…
Major Findings……………………………………………………………. 11 (1) Southern California Regional Airport Authority ……….. 11 (2) Regional Airport Consortium ……………………………… 15 (3) Sub-regional Perspectives …………………………………
(4) Private Sector Perspectives ……………………………….
(5) Reconstituting the Southern California Regional Airport Authority …………………………………. 29 DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING REGIONAL AIRPORT GOVERNANCE STRUCTURES: EXEMPLARS OF JPA AND MOU APPROACHES............. 32 (1) The Earlier Southern California Regional Airport Authority …………………………………………………………..
(2) New England Airport Coalition ……………. ……………………..
(3) Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport………….………. 42 COMPONENTS OF A NEW REGIONAL AIRPORT MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE ……………………………………………………………………… 46 Three Approaches to Regional Airport Governance ……………… 46 Restructuring the Southern California Regional Airport Authority 48 (1) Mission ………………………………………………………… 48 (2) Membership …………………………………………………… 50 (3) SCRAA’s Powers …………………………………………….. 53
Page The Regional Airport Consortium ……………………………………
(1) Mission ………………………………………………………… 55 (1) Membership …………………………………………………… 55 (2) Consortium Powers ………………………………………… 59 IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES, TIMELINE AND MILESTONES………. 60 Phase I: Building Consensus and Participation …………………… 60 Phase II: Setting Up an Institutional Framework And Organization ………………………………………………… 63 Phase III: Sustaining and Growing SCRAA …………………………. 65 Action Items and Milestones …………………………………………… 67 NOTES ……………………………………………………………………………… 72 APPENDIX I: REGIONAL AIRPORT MANAGEMENT IMPLEMENTATION STUDY: STAKEHOLDER SURVEYS A & B …………………………………… 74 APPENDIX II: STAKEHOLDERS INTERVIEWED: LIST OF ORGANIZATIONS AND RESPONDENTS…………………… 79 APPENDIX III: SCRAA GOVERNANCE OPTIONS …………………………… 82 A. PROPOSED REVISION OF THE SCRAA JOINT POWERS AGREEMENT (SCRAA Board Meeting 1/11/2007, Agenda Item #5A) … ……………………………………………………… 82 B. COMMENTS ON PROPOSED REVISION …………………………... 90
REGIONAL AIRPORT MANAGEMENT IMPLEMENTATION STUDY EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In recent years there has been a dramatic shift in the policy focus and political tenor of aviation debates in Southern California. The focus has changed from adding capacity at sites in the densely-populated coastal plain to making better use of capacity already available at suburban airports. Politically, openness to new forms of regional cooperation is replacing traditional inter-jurisdictional rivalries and recrimination. In this context, SCAG’s Regional Aviation Plan in the adopted 2004 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) recommends strategies for decentralizing passenger and air cargo service from congested urban airports to under-utilized suburban airports. New management structures are needed to guide the decentralization process. Thus, the 2004 RTP recommends a new “Regional Airport Consortium” for coordinating airport master planning, facilities construction, and surface-transportation policies and planning. In 2005 a Regional Airport Management Study was completed for SCAG. It surveyed airport authorities around the country and identified the most appropriate organizational structures for a new Regional Airport Consortium for Southern California. Three potential governance arrangements were identified: (a) a structured Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the region’s ten established or emerging air carrier airports (with participation by transportation agencies), similar to the New England Airport Coalition MOU; (b) a new Joint Powers Authority (JPA) structure; and (c) a reconstituted Southern California Regional Airport Authority (SCRAA) Joint Powers Agreement. This Implementation Study is a follow-up to the 2005 Study. Its purposes are to: (1) survey stakeholders and policy experts on the most efficient and appropriate methods for creating a new regional airport management structure consistent with the “Regional Airport Consortium” concept proposed in the 2004 RTP; (2) complete case studies of the development of comparable airport governance structures; (3) evaluate and recommend specific elements of the new regional airport management structure from both an MOU and JPA approach; (4) evaluate and recommend specific implementation strategies to both create and ensure the success of a new governance structure by encouraging participation and commitment from potential members; and (5) develop an implementation timeline for the development of the new regional airport management structure, with major milestones. Lending urgency and focus to this Study, the dormant Southern California Regional Airport Authority (SCRAA)—composed of the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties—was reactivated in June 2006. Despite past failures, this multi-jurisdictional JPA remains a leading vehicle for airport decentralization and regionalization. The regional policy context has changed substantially since the creation of SCRAA in the 1980s. Two watershed events—the LAX Master Plan Settlement Agreement and resolution of the El Toro airport siting debate—have shifted the focus of regional aviation debates. In the wake of these two events, a new regional consensus has formed around air traffic decentralization. Methodologically, we interviewed key stakeholders and policy experts, including officials from the SCAG region’s airports and ground transportation agencies, the Los Angeles
Mayor’s Office, current and former SCRAA officials, officials with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Caltrans, representatives of the airline industry, aviation consultants and academics. The stakeholder surveys focus on how to successfully reconstitute and implement a new SCRAA JPA—addressing issues of mission, membership, and powers—and, alternatively, how to create and implement a New England-style MOU or new JPA between the region’s airport operators and transportation agencies. The surveys (telephone and in-person interviews) inform our recommendations regarding appropriate governance structures, implementation strategies, timelines and milestones. We also offer analyses and lessons learned from three exemplar cases of multijurisdictional regional airport governance structures. Featuring both MOU and JPA approaches, the exemplars are: (a) the earlier Southern California Regional Airport Authority; (b) the New England Airport Coalition; and (c) the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) jointly owned and operated by the two cities. We focus upon how these entities were created; their organizational and decision-making strengths and weaknesses; and their applicability to a new regional aviation-related institution in the context of prevailing political conditions in Southern California. One of the fundamental insights that emerged from the stakeholder surveys and case studies is that a consensus-based and power-sharing approach to governance and a careful, incremental implementation strategy are needed to ensure that the entity responsible for facilitating decentralization will be effective and thus able to implement a broad range of SCAG aviation and ground transportation policies. The surveys and case studies also yielded a host of more specific findings and observations to inform choices about regional airport governance and implementation. The Study’s major findings from the stakeholder surveys are as follows: (1) There is broad support among stakeholders for efforts to strengthen regional coordination. SCRAA is viewed as the leading vehicle; an alternative regional airport consortium should be considered only if SCRAA falters. There is an open mind about the Authority and a willingness to participate in its deliberations. (2) Re-defining SCRAA’s mission should be a top priority. The Authority needs to address air capacity (e.g., better utilization), ground access and funding issues. (3) There is broad concern about SCRAA’s existing proprietary powers (e.g., eminent domain, operating airports), and strong support for eliminating them. (4) The Authority’s membership (e.g., voting, ex-officio, associate and technical/advisory) needs to be more inclusive to reflect its new mission (e.g., include other counties such as San Diego as well as federal and state transportation agencies). Southern California’s airport operators and impacted communities need some form of representation to ensure that SCRAA’s decentralization agenda is consistent with airport constraints and local political realities. Air carrier participation is also desired, and can help ensure that the Authority’s decision making reflects the competitive landscape and market incentives.
The Study’s major recommendations regarding reconstituting the Regional Airport Authority are as follows: (1) That the Authority adopt a flexible mission statement emphasizing better utilization of existing capacity, and enhanced ground access and funding. (2) That SCRAA vote to eliminate SCRAA’s existing proprietary powers from the JPA. (3) That the Authority adopt formal mechanisms (e.g., voting or ex-officio membership, a technical advisory committee) to give needed voice to Southern California’s airport operators and impacted communities. (4) That the FAA, Caltrans and air carrier organizations be invited to participate in SCRAA deliberations as either ex-officio members or in a technical advisory capacity. (5) That consideration be given to expanding membership to include San Diego, Ventura, and Imperial Counties, with the San Diego Association of Governments serving as an ex-officio member. (6) That SCRAA actively work with SCAG to delineate their respective regional planning roles. The Authority should use SCAG’s regional airport and ground access planning products. SCRAA can assist SCAG in air system and ground access planning and programming (e.g., prioritizing airport ground access projects for funding). (7) That the Authority move quickly to forge a unified legislative program for the region. This could involve federal aviation funding, landing fee formulas, and state transportation funding initiatives. (8) Should SCRAA falter, consideration should be given to a “structured” MOU approach. Important SCRAA timelines and milestones are as follows: (1) Building consensus and participation (through mid-2007): (a) Reactivation of membership and participation in SCRAA deliberations by all five members, including Orange and Riverside Counties. (b) FAA recognition of SCRAA’s role in regional coordination. (2) Setting up a new institutional framework (by December 2007): (a) Appointment of a chief executive officer and other management personnel to carry out the decisions of the Authority and provide technical and legal assistance to the Board. (b) Completion of an initial round of revisions and amendments to the 1985 SCRAA JPA, including agreement on a revamped mission statement, and decisions about new members, changes to the current representation scheme and voting rules, and elimination of existing proprietary powers. (c) SCRAA input into, and developing an implementation role regarding, SCAG’s 2008 RTP airport and ground access components. (3) Sustaining and growing the organization (2008 through 2010): (a) Continued interest and leadership by the City of Los Angeles, with LAWA serving as a lead agency in developing programs to encourage the location of flights at LA/Ontario Airport and cooperating with other underutilized suburban airports. (b) Visible progress in pursuing the Authority’s programmatic and legislative agendas.
REGIONAL AIRPORT MANAGEMENT IMPLEMENTATION STUDY OVERVIEW AND OBJECTIVES In recent years the SCAG Region’s airport debate has shifted from finding new airport capacity to better utilization of existing capacity. The existing urban airports are highly constrained and encroached upon while potential capacity is concentrated at suburban airports in the Inland Empire and North Los Angeles County. As a result, the regional airport ground access issue is becoming paramount. SCAG’s Regional Aviation Plan in the adopted 2004 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) recommended strategies for decentralizing passenger and air cargo service from congested urban airports to outlying suburban airports where capacity is available. New management structures are needed to guide the decentralization process.
Thus, the 2004 RTP recommended a new
“Regional Airport Consortium” for coordinating airport master planning, facilities construction, and surface-transportation policies and planning. In 2005 a Regional Airport Management Study was completed for SCAG. It surveyed airport authorities around the country and identified the most appropriate organizational structures for a new Regional Airport Consortium for Southern California.
governance arrangements stood out: (a) a structured Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the region’s ten established or emerging air carrier airports, similar to the New England Airport Coalition MOU, with the region’s transportation agencies also participating; (b) a new Joint Powers Authority (JPA) structure; and (c) a reconstituted Southern California Regional Airport Authority (SCRAA) Joint Powers Agreement. As a follow-up to the 2005 Study, this Implementation Study’s purposes are to: (1) survey stakeholders and policy experts on the most efficient and appropriate methods for creating a new regional airport management structure consistent with the “Regional Airport Consortium” concept proposed in the 2004 RTP; (2) complete case studies of the development of comparable airport governance structures; (3) evaluate and recommend specific elements of the new regional airport management structure for both an MOU and JPA approach; (4) evaluate and recommend specific implementation strategies to both create and ensure the success of a new governance structure by encouraging participation
implementation timeline for the development of the new regional airport management
structure, with major milestones.
A consensus-based governance system and
incremental, phased implementation strategy can help ensure that the entity is an effective vehicle for implementing a broad range of SCAG regional policies related to aviation and ground transportation. Lending focus and urgency to this Study, the Southern California Regional Airport Authority was reactivated in June 2006. Despite past failures, this multi-jurisdictional JPA remains a leading vehicle for airport decentralization and regionalization.
regional policy context has changed substantially since the creation of SCRAA in the 1980s.
Two watershed events—the LAX Master Plan Settlement Agreement and
resolution of the El Toro airport siting debate—have shifted the focus of regional aviation debates. In the wake of these two events, a new regional consensus has formed around air traffic decentralization. There is no longer major substantive disagreement over the basic strategy, i.e., how to address the capacity shortfall facing the region. Methodologically, we interviewed key stakeholders and policy experts, including officials from the SCAG region’s airports and ground transportation agencies, the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, current and former SCRAA officials, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Caltrans officials, representatives of the airline industry, aviation consultants and academics. The stakeholder surveys focus on how to successfully reconstitute a new SCRAA JPA—addressing issues of mission, membership, and powers—and, alternatively, how to create and implement a New England-style MOU or new JPA between the region’s airport operators and transportation agencies.
(consisting of telephone and in-person interviews) inform our recommendations regarding appropriate governance structures, functions, implementation strategies, timelines and milestones. We also offer analyses of three exemplar case studies of the development and implementation of multi-jurisdictional regional airport governance structures. Featuring both MOU and JPA approaches, the exemplars are: (a) the Southern California Regional Airport Authority (before 2006); (b) the New England Airport Coalition; and (c) the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), jointly owned and operated by the two cities.
We focus upon how these entities were created; their organizational and
decision-making strengths and weaknesses; and their applicability to the process of creating a new regional aviation-related institution in Southern California. The Study is divided into four parts. The first section presents the methodology and major findings from our stakeholder surveys. The second part summarizes the lessons from our exemplar case studies for designing and implementing regional airport governance structures. The third section analyzes and recommends components for a new regional airport management structure, considering both a restructuring of the Southern California Regional Airport Authority and a new Regional Airport Consortium. The final part outlines an appropriate implementation framework with recommended strategies, timelines and milestones for a restructured Southern California Regional Airport Authority.
There are three Appendices. Appendix I presents the stakeholder
surveys. Appendix II lists the organizations and respondents surveyed. Appendix III considers SCRAA governance options presented at the January 11, 2007 SCRAA Board of Directors meeting. Buoyed by a favorable regional policy context, SCRAAâ€™s prospects for successfully designing and executing a decentralization agenda are promising. In its initial set of meetings, the SCRAA Board has fostered an inclusive environment and started the discussion about revising its mission, membership and formal powers. Project team evaluations of these initial proposals are offered in Appendix III. The survey findings, recommendations and timeline are described in greater detail in the pages that follow. They are intended to help move implementation from vague concepts and political gestures to concrete policy action. If the Authority proves unable to accomplish the goals discussed here, then other strategies, like a Regional Airport Consortium MOU, may prove necessary. Regional decision-makers, however, need to work diligently to avoid another SCRAA meltdown. The future economic vitality and quality of life in the SCAG region will turn on successful implementation of the decentralization agenda. This Study shows that SCRAAâ€™s existing members and other key stakeholders in Southern California are ready to devote every effort to seeing that happen.
STAKEHOLDER SURVEYS: METHODOLOGY AND MAJOR FINDINGS The project team developed a set of questionnaires to ascertain the views of key stakeholders regarding appropriate methods for designing and implementing a regional airport management structure for Southern California. Information was gathered from the SCAG regionâ€™s major airport operators, ground transportation providers, air carriers, federal and state officials, policy experts, and current and former Southern California Regional Airport Authority (SCRAA) officials. One questionnaire focused on regional airport governance issues and options, and was administered to the regionâ€™s airport operators, transportation providers, federal and state officials, policy experts and SCRAA officials.
A second questionnaire focused upon incentives and disincentives for air
service decentralization, and was administered to airport marketing and air carrier personnel.
The survey data are utilized in crafting the Studyâ€™s recommendations for
designing and implementing a new airport management structure for Southern California. In this section we describe the methodology and major findings drawn from these surveys. We conclude with a discussion of a possible agenda for the reconstituted Airport Authority, as envisioned by former SCRAA board members and officials.
Methodology The project team, in consultation with aviation and transportation policy experts, developed two survey instruments which were administered by telephone, email, or inperson to 35 stakeholders. The questionnaire was designed to be completed in 35 to 45 minutes. As noted, two separate questionnaires were developed: (a) for airport and transportation operators, state and federal officials, policy experts, and current and former SCRAA officials; and (b) for air carrier representatives and airport marketing officials.
(Copies of these questionnaires appear in Appendix I).
questionnaires served as the basis for the stakeholder survey, actual interviews departed substantially from the written script.
The interviews were intended to be
conversational, with ample opportunities for follow-up questions by project members and extended commentary by survey respondents.
None of the telephone or in-person
interviews were recorded by the project team, though in every case one team member was responsible for taking detailed notes and circulating these to the rest of the project team. Survey respondents were given repeated assurances that all responses would
remain confidential. This confidentiality guarantee encouraged respondents to provide honest and forthright answers to the survey questions. The organizations and officials contacted to participate in the stakeholder survey include all ten of the existing and potential commercial airports in the SCAG Region as well as the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties. All ten of the airport operators and nearly all of the transportation commissions agreed to participate.
As noted, the project team also interviewed air
carrier representatives, federal and state transportation officials, current and former SCRAA officials, and academic experts and aviation consultants. Given the critical role played by the City of Los Angeles, we also interviewed officials in the Los Angeles Mayorâ€™s office, the City Councilman representing District 11 (surrounding LAX), and management of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA). The organizations and officials participating in the stakeholder survey are listed in Appendix II. (Specific responses are confidential). The design of the survey was heavily influenced by the decision of City of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe to revive the Southern California Regional Airport Authority in June 2006.1 The survey instrument includes questions about the reconstitution of the SCRAA Joint Powers Agreement as well as creating a new Regional Airport Consortium.
With respect to SCRAA,
respondents were invited to share their views on restructuring the mission, membership and formal powers. Respondents were also asked about their interest in joining the Authorityâ€™s deliberations and what conditions they might have for doing so. With respect to a Regional Airport Consortium, the project team was interested in how respondents felt about the MOU and JPA approaches, how issues of mission and membership might be resolved, and their interest in participating in such a forum. In addition to governance issues, the survey addressed a variety of regional aviationrelated issues of concern to airport operators and ground transportation providers throughout the SCAG region.
Indeed, the survey yielded valuable insights into the
benefits and challenges of decentralization and regionalization, and how these issues are viewed in different parts of the Southern California region. In talking with airport and transportation operators and elected officials in the region, one common concern was
how decentralization would be viewed by the private sector. In response, the project team developed a second questionnaire, focusing on air service decentralization and incentives, and administered this survey to air carrier representatives and airport marketing officials. These discussions uncovered interesting observations about the challenges of making decentralization consistent with market forces. Finally, interviews with current and former members of the Southern California Regional Airport Authority offer a window into the challenges faced in reconstituting the SCRAA in 2007 and beyond.
Major Findings (1) Southern California Regional Airport Authority SCRAA Redux: Fear and Loathing? The stakeholder surveys were conducted in the weeks and months following the June 2006 decision to revive the Southern California Regional Airport Authority.
The governance questionnaire was designed to assess
awareness of the Authority’s activities and confidence in its ability to carry out the decentralization mandate. The survey results indicate that: 1. SCRAA’s revival has attracted the interest, if not enthusiasm, of elected officials, airport operators, transportation agencies, and other key stakeholders. 2. The region’s airport operators understand the need for regional planning and coordination. 3. Stakeholders await SCRAA’s next steps with cautious optimism. Southern California’s airport operators and ground transportation providers view the decision to revive the Regional Airport Authority as a player in the region’s airport debates with cautious optimism. They understand the need for a regional entity to tackle air traffic decentralization and related aviation issues. They hope that SCRAA will help fill this void.
Most airport operators and ground access transportation providers in
Southern California participate in SCAG’s regional planning processes, including the Aviation Task Force, and the Plans and Programs Technical Advisory Committee. Ground transportation providers also participate in regional entities with implementation powers like the Southern California Regional Rail Authority.
These organizations believe that the Authority, properly structured, can make a positive contribution, but are skeptical that SCRAA will be able to solve the decentralization problem.
Some respondents remember the Authority’s earlier failures and wonder
whether the organizational problems caused by the structure of the Joint Powers Agreement and the political rivalries among member jurisdictions (e.g., distrust of Los Angeles) can be overcome. SCRAA’s Mission:
One proximate cause of SCRAA’s failure during its previous
incarnations was the organization’s apparent tendency to become captive to short-term political goals. Lacking a clear mission statement and no universally recognized regional mandate, the Authority’s mission shifted from developing new airports to planning for improved ground access to outlying airports.
In designing the questionnaire, one
objective was to find out what stakeholders in Southern California thought the mission of the newly reconstituted organization ought to be. Their responses suggest: 4. Priority #1: Re-defining SCRAA’s mission. 5. SCRAA needs to address air capacity (e.g., better utilization), ground access and funding issues. 6. SCRAA needs to coordinate with SCAG on air system and ground access planning and programming (e.g., prioritizing projects for funding). 7. Interest in regional coordination extends beyond air traffic decentralization. Defining precisely what the Authority will and will not do is likely to be the single-most important issue in re-designing the organization. Some respondents believe that an overly broad definition of its mission contributed to the Authority’s previous failures. Most of Southern California’s airport operators and ground transportation providers think the Regional Airport Authority ought to address both air capacity and ground access issues. However, the Authority ought not to focus on ground access at the expense of air system planning. Many of the region’s airport operators thought the Authority could address issues not directly related to air traffic decentralization. They suggested that the Authority might undertake additional activities, including: coordinating with SCAG on air system and ground access planning; serving as an interface with air carriers; organizing a lobbying
presence at the state and national levels; and assisting in planning, prioritizing and programming for local ground access projects. SCRAA’s Membership: Issues of mission and membership are closely intertwined. The stakeholder survey attempted to address the basic question of representation in SCRAA decision-making processes. Deciding who will participate and how will be a critical challenge in designing and implementing a new airport management structure for Southern California. The consensus on membership among the stakeholders contacted for this study was that: 8. SCRAA’s membership will need to change, to better reflect its new mission. 9. Southern California’s airport operators need representation. 10. The Authority ought to provide for a planning and programming role for SCAG. 11. Priority #2: Identifying appropriate roles for elected officials, airport operators and air carriers remains a critical unresolved issue. Southern California’s airport operators and ground transportation providers are interested in questions of representation, but feel these cannot be resolved until the Regional Airport Authority’s mission is better understood.
Some faulted the current
scheme of county-based representation, suggesting that local governments owning and operating airports (e.g., City of Long Beach, which owns Long Beach Airport), not just counties (e.g., Los Angeles County, which currently operates no airports) ought to decide issues of interest to these facilities. Most respondents felt that the Authority ought to take advantage of SCAG’s planning and programming expertise. In the past, SCRAA was an active sponsor of SCAG’s regional aviation planning processes.
They also thought that county transportation
commissions, FAA and Caltrans officials, public interest agencies and representatives from the private sector might better serve in an advisory capacity.
organizations formal voting rights might detract from the Authority’s focus on aviationrelated issues. One of the critical challenges in setting the Authority’s membership is to specify appropriate roles for both elected officials and technical staff.
respondents argued against mixing politicians and administrators, though active participation by both will undoubtedly be necessary.
Who Will Join a Revived SCRAA? One argument for targeting airport operators and ground transportation providers with the stakeholder survey was that their participation and support would be necessary for air traffic decentralization to succeed. Operators have superior information on the challenges facing Southern California’s constrained urban airports. Unlike the Regional Airport Authority, which has the legal authority, but lacks the institutional capacity to implement air capacity and ground access solutions, operators in Southern California have the ability to undertake concrete programs and initiatives. As such, one of the main tasks of the survey was to find out whether these organizations might be interested in participating in SCRAA activities and, if so, under what circumstances. The survey responses indicate that: 12. If asked, most Southern California’s airport operators would participate in SCRAA deliberations and activities. 13. Priority #3: Setting up rules to ensure that the Los Angeles participates but does not dominate. 14. The level of participation will be contingent on the perceived benefits from and effectiveness of SCRAA. Southern California’s airport operators, in particular smaller, fast-growing airports, expressed interest in participating in a regional forum like the Authority, whether they have direct representation or not. This finding is consistent with the overall importance that respondents placed on regional planning and coordination. Operators are open to having direct representation on the Board, though final decisions about this rest with elected officials.
Whether they receive direct representation or not, most airport
operators and ground transportation providers believe they need to be represented in any process that results in policy decisions that affect their facilities and services. Stakeholders outside of L.A. County are concerned about the influence Los Angeles might wield inside the Authority.
They do not want solutions imposed on them.
Consistent with the wait-and-see approach, the level of participation will depend on the Authority’s ability to contribute to the missions (and bottom lines) of different airports and its effectiveness in carrying out the decentralization mandate.
SCRAA’s Powers: Redesigning SCRAA’s powers to make them consistent with its new mission will be among the first set of decisions made by the reconstituted Board. Concerns about the Authority’s sweeping proprietary powers clearly detracted from the effectiveness of the organization in its previous incarnations. The survey responses of airport operators in the region indicate that these powers remain a preeminent concern: 15. SCRAA’s current powers and the reasons for its previous failures are poorly understood. 16. The broad powers listed in the SCRAA JPA worry local officials. 17. Eliminating the ability to operate airports and influence land use via eminent domain will be the price of participation. The broad powers contained in the Joint Powers Agreement that created the Regional Airport Authority are poorly understood. Nor do many of those responsible for operating airports and other transportation agencies understand why the Authority failed during its last go-round. When informed about the current array of legal powers—including the ability to own and operate airports as well as influence local land use through eminent domain—operators in the region expressed concern about their implications for local autonomy.
Alleviating the concerns of local officials will be a precondition for
participation by airport operators in the SCAG region.
(2) Regional Airport Consortium Initial Concerns:
The effectiveness of the Southern California Regional Airport
Authority as a vehicle for carrying out the decentralization mandate remains to be seen. If the Authority falters, the region will need an alternative vehicle for accomplishing air traffic decentralization.
The SCAG 2004 Regional Transportation Plan proposed
creating a Regional Airport Consortium to coordinate activities by airport operators in Southern California.
The survey questionnaire was designed to assess how
respondents felt about the Consortium concept and what activities such an organization might undertake initially. Some reactions from the survey were: 1. The region does not need both SCRAA and a Regional Airport Consortium. 2. Priority #1: Defining the mission. 3. Interest in regional coordination extends beyond decentralization.
Stakeholders in the region feel that SCRAA and the Regional Airport Consortium cannot co-exist. Until SCRAA is definitively dissolved, there is no room for a Regional Airport Consortium.
Echoing the earlier findings about SCRAAâ€™s vague mission, the most
important challenge in creating a viable Consortium will be to define what it will and will not do. Airport operators and ground transportation providers suggested a variety of issues and activities that such a Consortium could undertake.
In the near term, these include
coordinating with Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) to identify flight routes that might easily be off-loaded to smaller airports; prioritizing projects for federal and state funding; serving as an interface with private carriers; and assisting in planning for local ground access projects. Consortium Structure: MOU or JPA? In contrast to SCRAA, which is a Joint Powers Agreement with explicit proprietary powers and decision-making processes (including cumbersome amendment procedures) already in place, the Consortium concept offers flexibility in structuring the legal foundations of a vehicle to facilitate air traffic decentralization. One purpose of the survey was to identify the preferences of Southern Californiaâ€™s key impacted stakeholders regarding the precise legal form the Consortium might take. The consensus among the organizations we talked to was: 4. Most of Southern Californiaâ€™s transportation providers prefer an MOU to a new JPA for structuring the Regional Airport Consortium. 5. If an MOU proves to be successful, it can pave the way for a stronger organizational form such as a JPA, using an incremental approach based on trust and performance. Southern California airport operators and ground transportation providers expressed a decided preference for starting with a more flexible MOU arrangement.
respondents expressed concern about setting up another layer of government. Stakeholders are not opposed to a JPA in principle, but believe an MOU will be easier to implement in the near term and allows member agencies to develop the kind of trust necessary to make a stronger form of organization work. If the MOU proves to be a
success, members can elect to strengthen the Consortium by investing it with more formal powers via a JPA.
This could empower the organization to undertake
implementation activities in addition to performing its implied planning function. Consortium Membership: One of the benefits of designing a new airport management structure is the ability to select members and prescribe responsibilities for each. The stakeholder survey attempted to address the basic question of representation in Consortium decision-making processes.
Whether it be SCRAA or a new Regional
Airport Consortium, deciding who will participate and how will be a critical challenge in designing and implementing a new airport management structure.
responses suggest that: 6. Full membership ought to be limited with selection guided by the task at hand. 7. Operators want a regional forum to address air capacity and ground access challenges. 8. MOUs formed by county transportation commissions to identify necessary infrastructure projects and address the impacts of international trade can be a useful model. Southern California’s airport operators and ground transportation providers want a forum that is capable of addressing air capacity and ground access challenges at the regional level. Many airport operators want a clear definition of the Regional Airport Consortium’s mission before committing attention and resources, but all endorsed the general concept and expressed interest in participating. Opinion about the size of membership and role of ground transportation providers is divided. Most airport operators feel that ground transportation agencies can contribute valuable information to ground access planning, but a few worried that these agencies might attempt to use the Consortium as a vehicle for other concerns. In crafting the Consortium’s structure and membership, the recent experience of Southern California’s county transportation commissions can serve as a model. Separate MOUs setting up information sharing and planning functions, and dealing directly with decentralization, might ultimately be desirable.
Not all airports see
themselves as players in the decentralization debate (e.g., decentralization might be addressed by a narrow agreement between LAWA and airports in the Inland counties), but still want to participate in regional discussions about airport issues. Incentive-izing Participation:
If the Consortium takes the form of a voluntary
organization with flexible and loose participation criteria, it will be important to structure the decision-making process to ensure full participation by Southern California’s key impacted stakeholders. Non-participation by particular jurisdictions and organizations doomed past attempts to effect regional coordination. The stakeholder survey asked what incentives might be needed to get all of Southern California’s airport operators and ground transportation providers to the table. The survey responses indicate that: 9. The region’s airport operators will participate, but interest will quickly diminish if the Regional Airport Consortium is perceived to be ineffective. 10. Priority #2: Securing buy-in among regional stakeholders, especially the private sector. 11. Priority #3: Investing the Regional Airport Consortium with capacity to help airports succeed and improve their bottom lines. Southern California’s transportation agencies all expressed interest in a regional forum like the Consortium, either as full participants, ex-officio members, or information providers. There is broad recognition of the vital role a regional entity might play in Southern California’s airport debates. However, many respondents were skeptical that the Consortium could effectively change a status quo where airports jealously guard their prerogatives and compete rather than complement each other. Several of the smaller, developing airports in the region await a definitive commitment by LAWA to a broader conception of decentralization than maximizing revenues and air traffic at LAX and LA/Ontario. Nearly all airport operators in the region stressed the need for buy-in among affected stakeholders, especially the airlines.
support and cooperation of the air carriers serving the region is considered a major, if not the major, impediment to decentralization. Ultimately, the level of participation will depend not on particular inducements, but on the Regional Airport Consortium’s
effectiveness in working with airport communities to achieve their goals and improve the bottom line.
(3) Sub-regional Perspectives In addition to gathering opinions and insight about structuring the Regional Airport Authority and proposed Regional Airport Consortium, the interviews addressed issues of a more local, i.e., sub-regional, concern to airport operators and ground transportation providers. Many of these salient local issues are critical for regional decision-makers to understand in crafting a successful air traffic decentralization strategy. It is worth emphasizing again that the project team spoke to a limited number of stakeholders in each sub-region. The findings presented below reflect interviews with airport operators and ground transportation agencies in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. The survey results highlight perceived obstacles to decentralization and the potential benefits of regional coordination. The challenges and benefits identified here do not constitute a complete list, nor are they necessarily the most important ones from a broad regional perspective.
perspectives can inform the deliberations of the reconstituted Regional Airport Authority as it grapples with defining its mission, membership and powers. Riverside County: Riverside County is among of the fastest growing jurisdictions in Southern California and will absorb a substantial portion of the region’s population growth over the next 30 years.
The county, however, currently has one small
commercial airport, Palm Springs International, and limited air cargo service at March Inland Port. Failure to provide convenient access to the L.A. airport system or build capacity locally will negatively impact both residential and business development. The agreement between the March Inland Port Airport Authority and the military permitting joint use at March Field creates the possibility for expanding air passenger or cargo service in the future. DHL recently began using March for domestic cargo operations. Short-term obstacles to decentralization: •
Infrastructure challenges at March are akin to “building a city from scratch.”
Flight operations at March are currently limited to approximately 21,000 per year.
The airport lacks sufficient road access and on-site infrastructure.
Benefits of regional coordination: •
Interfacing with state and federal agencies.
Help with project funding, regulatory compliance.
Partnership with SCAG, other airports to define and reach realistic air service projections.
In speaking with members of the March Inland Port Airport Authority, it was evident that both legal constraints and infrastructure problems will limit the “regional” role of the March Inland Port Airport in the near term. First, it is important to note that development at March transcends airport infrastructure and really involves building an entire city from scratch. Second, March already operates under legal constraints that limit the number of flights it can offer, i.e., 21,000 operations per year.
By comparison, San Diego
International Airport currently oversees 125,000 operations per year. Finally, the airport has only recently been able to secure funding for roads and other critical on-site infrastructure. On the plus side, stakeholders in Riverside County see several important benefits to regional coordination. They are interested in seeing a regional entity like the Regional Airport Authority serve as an interface with state and federal agencies. The Authority could also help facilities like March identify and secure funding for airport and ground access improvements. Finally, Riverside is interested in partnering with agencies like SCRAA and SCAG to develop realistic air service demand projections that can inform their own development activities. Orange County: Orange County generates a large share of air passenger demand in the SCAG region. The County owns and operates John Wayne Airport, but this facility is able to meet just a small portion of the demand for domestic flights and offers no international service. Space and legal constraints will continue to limit expansion at John Wayne. Similarly, the decision by voters in 2002 to reject a proposed commercial airport at El Toro means that no new airport infrastructure will be constructed in the near future. The challenge for the region will be to improve ground access between the job centers and high-demand communities in Orange County, and LAX and LA/Ontario airports.
Long-term regional challenges: •
Past conflicts and distrust of Los Angeles have the potential to undermine regional cooperation.
Port externalities (the county’s “pass-through” status).
Inability to serve existing and future air passenger needs.
Benefits of regional coordination: •
Improved access to LAX.
Ground access to outlying airports (e.g., LA/Ontario).
The challenges to decentralization in Orange County are more long-term.
County has an historic political rivalry with Los Angeles. This rivalry can inhibit the effectiveness of regional organizations like the Regional Airport Authority. If SCRAA is perceived to be dominated by Los Angeles or encroaches on functions already performed by organizations like the Orange County Transportation Authority, participation likely will be limited to “rear-guard” actions. Local stakeholders also worry about the “pass-through” status of the county. Trucks carrying cargo between the Mexican border and the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles create traffic problems and impact the quality of roads and highways. Finally, the inability to meet the air passenger and air cargo demand generated inside Orange County leaves stakeholders in a precarious position.
The economic vitality of local
economies will be dramatically impacted by decisions about airport infrastructure that the county has little control over. Stakeholders in Orange County recognize the value of regional planning and have a vital stake in regional coordination. There is interest in participating in informal activities, such as the MOUs being considered by the county transportation commissions to share information and mitigate the impact of international trade. Political officials in Orange County are also likely to support a comprehensive ground access strategy that offers better access to LAX and airport facilities in the Inland Empire.
San Bernardino County: Like Riverside, San Bernardino County is one of the region’s high growth areas. Unlike Riverside, however, the area already has an international airport—LA/Ontario.
San Bernardino also has two other airports, San Bernardino
International and Southern California Logistics Airport, that could offer air passenger and cargo service in the future.
With increasing numbers of residents and businesses
moving out to San Bernardino and substantial airport infrastructure already in place, the consensus among transportation experts is that increased commercial traffic at LA/Ontario is not a matter of if, but when. The task facing decision-makers at SCRAA is how best to facilitate this growth and mitigate its negative impacts. Short-term obstacles to decentralization: •
Attracting air carriers to under-utilized LA/Ontario and San Bernardino International.
Financing growth and mitigating externalities at LA/Ontario.
Benefits of regional coordination: •
Partnership with LAWA to promote complementary air passenger and cargo services.
Increased international flight offerings at LA/Ontario.
Ground access from the coastal plain and inland communities.
Those responsible for operating San Bernardino’s three main airports, as well as officials in County government and at the San Bernardino Associated Governments, expressed great enthusiasm for air traffic decentralization. Here is where both the opportunities for coordination and the consequences of inaction are greatest. Airport operators in San Bernardino County are interested in partnering with LAWA to develop complementary air passenger and cargo services. Indeed, they will be closely monitoring both the activities of the Regional Airport Authority and signs from LAWA that indicate its intentions with respect to decentralization. San Bernardino stakeholders believe that the demand for international flights inside the county has been underestimated.
Residents look forward to increased international
offerings at LA/Ontario. Effective action by SCRAA or a Regional Airport Consortium can ensure that this occurs sooner rather than later.
The greatest challenge to increasing the “regional” role played by airports in San Bernardino County will be to persuade or provide incentives for air carriers to offer new services at these airports. This will be difficult to achieve in the current competitive landscape, where air carriers are able to expand service at LAX at a lower cost than offering new service at LA/Ontario. Both airport operators and affected communities will also be looking to the Regional Airport Authority to help finance airport and ground access improvements, and mitigate the inevitable traffic and other externalities likely to emerge as LA/Ontario and San Bernardino International increase their service levels. Los Angeles County: The LAX Master Plan Settlement Agreement caps service at 78 million air passengers per year. With the exception of LA/Palmdale Airport, there are few opportunities for accommodating the projected increase in air passenger demand generated inside the county. L.A. will also be asked to bear a disproportionate share of air passenger and cargo demand generated in other counties. Several small airports in the county—Bob Hope Airport and Long Beach Airport—offer some relief for LAX, but expansion of these facilities is limited by physical and legal constraints. L.A. no longer has the ability to unilaterally implement its own vision of the aviation future on the region. What the City of Los Angeles and other communities want, i.e., air traffic decentralization, must be consistent with the ideas that other communities have about their own futures. Constraints of the built-out environment: •
Traffic, noise and air quality concerns.
Managing growth with “status quo” airports.
Benefits of regional coordination: •
Creative solutions to traffic and noise concerns.
Improved access to LAX and outlying facilities.
Maintain, upgrade air cargo and passenger services to improve regional competitiveness.
The main challenges to air traffic decentralization in Los Angeles County arise from the constraints of a built-out environment. L.A. County’s commercial airports all face legal
and physical constraints on their ability to expand existing service levels. Indeed, those responsible for operating Bob Hope and Long Beach airports do not necessarily see themselves as players in the decentralization discussion. They view themselves as status quo airports serving well-defined service areas that will be minimally impacted by what LAWA and other airports do. While the precise “regional” role of smaller airports in the county is unclear, the benefits of regional coordination are not. Maintaining and upgrading air passenger and cargo services at L.A.’s constrained urban airports and in the outlying areas will be critical to assuring that the SCAG region remains competitive with other regions around the world. Locally, the county’s constrained urban airports will also be looking to the Regional Airport Authority for creative solutions to the traffic and noise concerns generated by airports. Sub-regional implications: The implications from these sub-regional perspectives are straight-forward. First, there is broad-based consensus on the need for regional airport and ground access planning and decision-making. Stakeholders in the SCAG region appreciate the urgency of Southern California’s aviation challenges and are willing to share in deliberations and decision-making processes that address them. Second, there is substantial interest alignment on air traffic decentralization. This is the great political and economic opportunity before the Regional Airport Authority.
challenge will be to: (a) build consensus around a concrete mission; (b) create an effective process for collective decision-making; and (c) to use that process to structure a solution that equitably allocates sub-regional burdens and benefits. Third, the extensive interest in regional planning and decision-making among key stakeholders in the SCAG region means that there is plenty of work for the Regional Airport Authority (or a Regional Airport Consortium) to do.
While focusing the
Authority’s time and resources around large objectives will be important, the agenda need not be limited to air traffic decentralization.
The Authority will find friendly
constituencies for a diverse array of programs and initiatives—such as lobbying for greater federal and state ground access monies—many of which can be achieved in the near term.
(4) Private Sector Perspectives The high level of interest in private sector participation by Southern California airport operators and elected officials led the project team to investigate private sector perspectives on air traffic decentralization. The information in this section was informed by interviews with airport marketing personnel, private consultants working with airports, air carrier representatives in the region, and current and former airline employees. These respondents all have extensive private-sector experience or hold jobs that bring them into regular contact with the airlines serving the SCAG Region. This round of interviews has proven invaluable in crafting realistic recommendations for designing and implementing a regional airport management structure for Southern California. As with the material on sub-regional perspectives presented above, the information in this section is based on a limited number of interviews. The basic findings are presented as a series of bullet points, to emphasize their speculative quality. Many of the issues highlighted here, however, deserve careful consideration and further study by regional planners and decision-makers. SCRAA and Decentralization: One area the project team wanted to address was the degree of awareness and understanding by air carriers of recent airport infrastructure debates in Southern California. Cooperation by air carriers will be essential to making air traffic decentralization a reality. The questionnaire administered to airport marketing and airline personnel addressed private sector understanding and support for the work of the Regional Airport Authority. The surveys suggest that: â€˘
Airline personnel understand decentralization, are sensitive to airport-related issues and will closely monitor SCRAA activities.
Balance is needed between the political goal of decentralizing air traffic and the market-driven strategies of air carriers.
If asked, airline personnel would welcome the opportunity to participate in regional planning and decision-making processes.
Respondents indicated that the airlines are very aware of debates over implementing the LAX Master Plan and are monitoring the Regional Airport Authority.
Much of this
awareness currently resides in the airport affairs departments responsible for on-site
property management. It is unclear whether this information gets passed on to senior personnel at corporate headquarters. Notwithstanding their awareness and sensitivity, airline personnel stressed the different dynamics driving the decisions of air carriers and public entities like the Regional Airport Authority. Since deregulation, airlines go to markets, not airports. As today’s public agencies lack the ability to fix route schedules or direct carriers to spread the burden, decentralization strategies will need to be consistent with the market forces shaping the industry. The airlines would welcome a seat at regional aviation planning discussions. Getting private sector input at an early stage can help public agencies avoid building costly infrastructure (e.g., terminals and transportation nodes) that goes underused. Near Term Strategies:
While the private sector is sympathetic to the decentralization
mandate and open to participating in regional planning, markets rather than politics will drive industry decision-making. The challenge for the Regional Airport Authority is to devise strategies that make air traffic decentralization consistent with the market-driven world of airlines. So far, infrastructure developed to facilitate decentralization in the SCAG region has gone underutilized. Respondents were asked why this was the case and what could be done to improve the situation. Their responses indicate that: •
Decisions to relocate flights are weighed against the opportunity costs of expanding services at LAX.
Significant short-term disincentives exist to relocating flights at LA/Ontario.
Air traffic decentralization strategies must be airport-specific.
Public officials need to create realistic expectations regarding LA/Palmdale, San Bernardino International and March Inland Port Airports.
Historically, the main impediment to relocating flights to underutilized facilities like LA/Ontario appears to have been the competitive landscape at LAX. Until recently air carriers could expand existing service at LAX at about half the cost of competing facilities and, in doing so, locate flights closer to where most passengers live. One
official has estimated that 70 percent of passengers who live in LA/Ontario’s primary catchment area end up going to LAX or other airports. Part of the cost differential results from state and federal regulations that constrain what airports may charge their tenants. Airports charge historical costs plus maintenance. Thus, facilities that have recently undergone large-scale renovations are more expensive to fly out of. The cost difference can be as great as $5 to $8 per passenger. Another part of the differential has to do with economies of scale. Carriers that expand at LAX are able to serve more customers without adding much in labor or capital costs. Passing more customers through LAX often makes more sense than setting up new operations elsewhere. Similarly, the formula for allocating airport-related costs (e.g., for commonuse facilities like baggage systems) becomes more favorable as more carriers and passengers utilize an airport. In short, given a choice between expanding at LAX and moving to another airport, a carrier would rather expand at LAX. Further, for carriers considering a move to an underutilized airport, it is better to be third or fourth than first in line. Carriers that move in to a new facility gain the benefits of improved services, but often have to pay the costs of supporting surplus infrastructure. However, LAX’s historical cost advantage is now disappearing, thus making decentralization easier.
Recently the Board of Airport Commissioners substantially
raised terminal lease rates and landing fees in order to fund master plan improvement projects. This is making LAX a much more expensive airport for air carriers, passengers and cargo shippers. In devising strategies to encourage air traffic decentralization, our respondents urged an incremental, airport-specific approach. For example, introducing a rent subsidy might work at an airport like LA/Palmdale, which is trying to attract its first carrier. The same program would be cost prohibitive at LA/Ontario, as it would require lowering rents across the board, not just for new tenants. It is unlikely that any single ground access project or set of programs will accomplish decentralization by itself.
initiatives aimed at matching on-site services with local markets have a better chance of succeeding and require less coordination at the regional level. In addition, a modular approach to terminal expansion—building facilities incrementally on a pay-as-you-go basis—appears to be the most cost-effective growth strategy.
In devising these strategies, it is important to keep in mind where Southern California’s developing airports are now, i.e., adopt a five- to 10-year as well as a 30-year perspective.
LA/Palmdale, for example, is focused on getting the first 200,000
passengers through the door, not the millions more they are projected to handle. Similarly, March is focused on making the best use of the 21,000 operations it currently has available. Overly grandiose plans have the potential to excite the enthusiasm and anxieties of local communities, making everybody more cynical when anticipated growth fails to materialize. Incentive-izing Decentralization:
Observations about the competitive landscape at
LAX ought to inform public policy aimed at incentive-izing air traffic decentralization. The project team attempted to gather feedback on incentive programs recently proposed or already in place to facilitate decentralization in the SCAG region. Some reactions to this set of survey questions were that: •
Small programs to encourage decentralization are unlikely to bring new service outside LAX (e.g., common-use facilities, FlyAways).
Airline personnel remain skeptical about using airport funds for ground access. Projects that fail to add revenues will be opposed.
Regional marketing initiatives are needed to make a business case for new service and raise consumer awareness of new facilities.
One point stressed by respondents with private-sector experience was the substantial commitment, on the order of 30 years, required to invest in LA/Ontario and other new facilities. Given the risk involved, programs like common-use facilities and FlyAways tend to be marginal rather than pivotal. They have the potential to reduce costs for airlines in an environment where carriers are becoming increasingly sensitive to airportrelated costs. However, what needs to be subsidized is this larger investment risk. The aviation sector currently lacks good programs for accomplishing this goal with individual airports constrained in what they can do. Today’s regulatory environment allows cities to craft innovative financing and other mechanisms to subsidize the risks professional sports franchises face in relocating to new facilities, but places a strait-jacket on what airports can do to encourage new business. Such policies are misguided. The local
economic benefits that accrue from a sports franchise pale in comparison to airportrelated spillover. Airline personnel understand that ground access is important, but feel they have little control over it.
They view programs like the recently initiated Van Nuys FlyAway
favorably, but remain skeptical that remote check-in and similar initiatives will prove to be cost-efficient. However, since they are not directly subsidized by airport-related fees, there is no opposition to them. The airlines will give greater scrutiny to off-site initiatives paid for with passenger fees and FAA grants. Right or wrong, airline personnel worry that using such funding on ground access means fewer on-site projects. Respondents liked the idea of setting up a joint marketing fund and other marketing programs to advertise underutilized airports to air carriers and the traveling public. While the airlines’ route scheduling and marketing staffs are well apprised of the facilities available at LA/Ontario and other airports, they will listen to those who wish to make a business case for new service.
(5) Reconstituting the Southern California Regional Airport Authority In addition to collecting information about the concerns of Southern California’s airport operators, ground transportation providers, and private-sector officials, the stakeholder survey attempted to identify the interests and constraints of the elected officials who will be responsible (and politically accountable) for making policy decisions affecting air traffic decentralization. The information in this final section was drawn primarily from interviews with former SCRAA officials and past members of the Authority’s governing Board. The purpose of including these officials was to shed additional light on the Authority’s past failures and to inform Study recommendations and implementation benchmarks.
presented here represent interpretations of these interviews by project members and do not constitute official policy statements by the Regional Airport Authority or any of its members. They do, however, provide insight into the Authority’s agenda for 2007 and beyond and the prospects for successfully implementing that agenda.
Crafting a SCRAA Agenda:
One objective of the stakeholder survey was to elicit as
much information as possible about the newly reconstituted Authorityâ€™s mission. Redefining SCRAAâ€™s mission and building support for an active agenda for the organization will be among the most important challenges facing the Board in the next few months. Some possible agenda items that emerged from these interviews include: 1.
Interfacing with federal and state aviation officials to increase funding for ground access projects.
Broadening participation to include Ventura and San Diego counties, and other impacted stakeholders.
Facilitating regional marketing initiatives to encourage use of new facilities.
Coordinating efforts to obtain a fair share of FAA and Homeland Security dollars for Southern California.
Lobbying state and federal officials for additional ground access funding is a task the Regional Airport Authority appears well positioned to perform.
reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Act provides an opportunity for the Authority to forge a unified regional voice with the Southern California congressional delegation. One change in the existing Act the region will be seeking is increased flexibility in the use of federal aviation funds for ground access related improvements at Southern California airport sites. At the October 12, 2006 meeting of the Regional Airport Authority Board, several members expressed interest in expanding the current membership to include Ventura and San Diego counties, and possibly others.
There is ample support for regional
marketing initiatives to encourage use of underutilized facilities along the lines of the New England MOU. Members of the Board also feel that Southern California does not receive its fair share of FAA and Homeland Security dollars.
Collective pursuit of
funding opportunities can be far more effective than the status quo where each airport applies separately for individual projects. Potential SCRAA Land Mines:
Neither SCRAAâ€™s past history nor its current legal
structure offers a particularly auspicious foundation for success. In pushing forward a unified agenda for the SCAG region or Southern California more generally, based on
existing consensus on decentralization, it will be critical for the Authority to avoid past mistakes. The Authority will also have to take concrete steps to alleviate the concerns expressed by airport operators and ground transportation providers in the region. Some red-flag areas identified by respondents were: 5. Proprietary language permitting ownership, operation of new or existing airports in Southern California, eminent domain. 6. Involvement in pricing issues (e.g., landing fees) at individual airports. 7. Direct negotiation with airlines over route scheduling. 8. Duplicating functions already performed by existing planning agencies and transportation operators. In mobilizing support for a unified agenda for the Southern California region, the Board members contacted by the project team hoped to avoid certain pitfalls that undermined the Authorityâ€™s work in the past. One task the Board is currently working on is changing the proprietary language of the existing JPA that allows the Regional Airport Authority to operate commercial airports and exercise the power of eminent domain. There is also little enthusiasm for involving the Authority in pricing issues at individual airports or negotiating directly with air carriers over route scheduling. Finally, the Board will need to work to prevent the organization from becoming embroiled in turf battles between different airport operators, public agencies and local communities. They need to view the Authority as a planner and facilitator for air traffic decentralization. Where implementation becomes necessary, the Authority will need to seek partners and fashion appropriate incentives for participation and cooperation rather than try to unilaterally impose solutions or duplicate functions already performed by existing planning agencies and airport and transportation providers.
DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING REGIONAL AIRPORT GOVERNANCE STRUCTURES: EXEMPLARS OF JPA AND MOU APPROACHES In this section we offer analyses and lessons learned from three exemplar cases of regional airport governance structures featuring multiple jurisdictions. The exemplars are: (1) earlier the Southern California Regional Airport Authority; (2) the New England Airport Coalition, composed of six state aviation agencies and eleven airports; and (3) the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), jointly owned and operated by the two cities.
The New England Airport Coalition is a Memorandum of Understanding
agreement; the other two entities are Joint Powers Authorities. For each of the case studies, we examine upon how their airport governance structures were created; their organizational and decision making strengths and weaknesses; and their applicability to a new regional aviation-related institution in the context of the prevailing political conditions in Southern California.
Methodologically, we utilize interviews with key
participants, agency reports and memoranda, and available secondary literature.
(1) The Earlier Southern California Regional Airport Authority Since the mid-1980s this multi-jurisdictional joint powers authority has served as a potential vehicle for airport regionalization and decentralization.
Focusing upon the
period prior to SCRAA’s reactivation in 2006, we consider the Authority’s genesis and development; its mission, powers, and membership; and its relation to SCAG.
conclude with the Authority’s lessons for the “Airport Consortium” concept. Genesis and Development: SCRAA was the brainchild of the late Clifton Moore, Executive Director of Los Angeles’s Department of Airports, 1968-1992. By the late 1960s, Moore had become a strong advocate of airport regionalization, realizing that future LAX expansion prospects were limited by growing community opposition and that new airport capacity was needed in outlying areas. To further regionalization, the L.A. Department of Airports (LADOA, later renamed Los Angeles World Airports) acquired LA/Ontario and LA/Palmdale airports as reliever facilities. At Moore’s urging, LADOA in 1976 proposed the creation of a regional airport authority to “appropriately accommodate regional aviation demand.” Participation would be voluntary for existing airports; each facility could determine its own level of participation. This would assure a mutually agreeable system of local control and financial burden sharing. However, the L.A. City
Council did not back the initiative, and many independent airport operators were resistant and fearful of the political power of the City of Los Angeles.2 In 1981, the initiative was recast as an exploratory joint powers agreement (under the California Government Code, sections 6500 et. seq.) between the Counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and the City of Los Angeles.
The County of
Orange declined membership. The participants came together to explore the feasibility of creating a regional airport authority because there was no single public agency that had the legal authority and requisite capability to adequately meet the region’s future aviation demand. In 1985, a superceding joint powers agreement between the four governmental jurisdictions was signed, officially creating the Southern California Regional Airport Authority with the mission, powers, and duties described below. The Authority is a public entity separate from the parties to the Agreement. In recognition of his founding role, Cliff Moore was named SCRAA’s Chief Executive Officer and Secretary.3 From 1985 to 1992, SCRAA primarily focused on planning and served as an informational forum.
The Authority completed several regional airport feasibility and
market share allocation studies, and developed marketing approaches for the region’s airport system. projects.
SCRAA also sponsored several SCAG regional aviation planning
During these years, there was little controversy over airport issues in the
region. In 1992, Orange County finally joined the Authority, but on the condition that each member had contractual veto power over the authority’s decisions. Soon thereafter, as airport battles featuring the LAX Master Plan and a proposed commercial airport at El Toro in Orange County heated up, there were growing airport development conflicts between the SCRAA members, and the organization became inactive. In 2001, the Authority was revived, ostensibly to shift future regional aviation demand from LAX to outlying airports.
After Orange County voters in March 2002
rejected a commercial airport at El Toro (Measure W), the Authority became an advocate of a proposed “airport without runways” high speed rail system to run from Anaheim to Inland Empire airports and ultimately to Las Vegas. But by 2004, as Orange and Riverside Counties withdrew because of airport development conflicts, and the City
of Los Angeles failed to send a representative, SCRAA became dormant again for lack of a quorum. As noted, the Authority was reactivated in June 2006.4 Mission, Powers, and Membership: Since its creation, SCRAA’s mission has changed. In the initial startup period, 1985-1990, the focus was upon planning to develop new airport capacity to meet future regional aviation demand.
Later, according to some
observers, the Authority was used as a vehicle to try to shape outcomes concerning the LAX Master Plan and the proposed El Toro airport. After the El Toro airport initiative defeat, SCRAA switched from airport to ground access planning. The 1985 SCRAA joint powers agreement describes the powers, term, membership, and funding of the Authority. The powers of the Authority are as follows5: • Develop, construct, acquire, operate, contract for, repair, transfer, maintain, manage, lease and administer general aviation and commercial air carrier airports; • Issue revenue bonds and to incur other forms of indebtedness as necessary to further the Authority’s goals; • Acquire, hold, and dispose of property, both personal and real; • Establish policies, rules, regulations governing the use and administration of any airport facility owned or operated by the Authority subject to the powers of the federal government regarding commerce; • Apply for and receive state and federal grants; • Exercise the power of eminent domain; • Any member has the “right of disapproval” with respect to any SCRAA proposal of acquisition by the Authority of an existing airport or of a site for development of an airport. There is no established termination date for SCRAA. It shall exist only “as long as is necessary to carry out the purpose of this Agreement… so long as a there are three or more parties… who desire to continue the purposes of this Agreement.” Regarding the SCRAA Board of Directors, each party to the Agreement has one member and one alternate appointed to the Board. Board members must be selected from the County Board of Supervisors. Alternates may be appointed from the Board of Supervisors or
another elected official from within the County.
Ex-officio non-voting members are
permitted upon unanimous approval by the Board. SCAG is officially designated as an ex-officio non-voting member.
The original agreement called for a mandatory
contribution from each member of $20,000 per fiscal year during the initial â€œfeasibility, investigation, and study periodâ€?.
In the early 1990s, the membership fees were
lowered.6 Two amendments were made to the original 1985 JPA. The first, approved in 1988, added non-voting associate members and empowered the Authority to collect annual dues from members.
Associate memberships were made available to local
governmental entities with territory in their jurisdictions within the noise impact of an airport. The associate member had to be an elected officer of the local government entity. By majority vote, the voting members of the SCRAA Board of Directors can approve an associate membership. The second amendment, approved in 1992, added the County of Orange as a member. Orange County reconsidered its earlier decision and finally joined the Authority because it wanted a greater voice in regional aviation issues; desired access to legal contractual veto power over new airports within its jurisdiction; and saw SCRAA as a potential opportunity to promote the high speed rail concept to access remote airport sites.7 For the period 1985-2004, the promise of the Southern California Regional Airport Authority remained largely illusory. It was originally touted by supporters as a vehicle for airport regionalization and decentralization. Under California JPA law, the Authority was given the powers bestowed upon its general government members: to own, acquire, construct and operate commercial airports. In theory, it also had the powers of eminent domain and revenue-bond financing.
Notwithstanding the appearance of formidable
power, SCRAA essentially functioned as a voluntary association comprised of the City of Los Angeles and the Counties of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange as voting members, with SCAG participating as a non-voting member.
County finally joined the Authority in 1992, it did so on the condition that each member had contractual veto power over the Authority's decisions. Veto power severely limited the agency's airport development powers.
The Authority also remained chronically
Relation to SCAG: There has been a history of cooperation between SCRAA and the Southern California Association of Governments.
In the 1970s, Cliff Moore used
SCAG’s 1972 Southern California Regional Aviation System Study to promote the idea that a regional aviation authority was needed for the region. After the Authority was created in 1985, it sponsored several aviation planning projects at SCAG. For example, SCRAA provided SCAG with seed money to begin development of the Regional Airport Demand Allocation Model (RADAM) that has been used to forecast and allocate air passenger and cargo demand in the SCAG region.9 Immediately following SCRAA’s resurrection in 2001, both SCRAA and SCAG staff saw the Authority as a potential entity to implement the decentralized airport approach considered in SCAG’s draft 2001 Regional Transportation Plan. In this formulation, SCAG would be the primary regional aviation planning entity, laying the foundation for aviation service. SCAG’s RTP provides the framework for future aviation-related action in the Southern California region.
SCRAA could potentially serve as the RTP’s
implementing body since no other single organization had the ability, authority, or representation to implement a regional approach to aviation service. Later, when the Authority shifted from airport to ground access issues, there was growing disagreement with SCAG. In particular, the Authority’s “airports without runways” concept, linked to a proposed California/Nevada high speed rail route, was inconsistent with SCAG’s “adopted regional Maglev system” linking the Southern California airports together.10 Lessons Learned: SCRAA demonstrates the ease of creation and apparent flexibility of the JPA approach to governance under the California Government Code. A JPA is a contractual agreement between participating governmental entities. A separate entity can be created, but it can only have up to the powers that have been granted to the participating members.
As the Authority’s history shows, a JPA can be a planning
agency or an implementation entity, either for airport and/or ground access projects. As with SCRAA, its members can be general purpose governments. Or, a JPA could be formed among other local government entities such as airport operators (as was originally proposed for the regional airport authority). In 1985 SCRAA was reconstituted by a superceding agreement, and given apparently formidable powers of eminent domain, revenue-bond financing, and airport development
and operation—though subject to member vetoes. Formidable powers subject to single member veto created a dysfunctional decision-making dynamic.
obstructive behavior by some members to ensure that new airports would not be built in their bailiwick. The Authority’s powers and veto rules also could be used as threat leverage by members to limit expansion at existing urban airports. In restructuring SCRAA, an important lesson is to avoid needless decision-making roadblocks and inflexible rules. The Authority’s unanimous consent rule illustrates such risks and dangers.
The Agreement can only be terminated or amended by the
unanimous mutual written consent of the members.
Thus, all five SCRAA board
members have to agree on members, powers and authority, member contributions, the budget, and termination procedures. Thus, nothing can be changed as outlined in the Agreement without all members voting affirmative. Even withdrawals must be approved by all parties to the Agreement. The Authority’s Agreement continues so long as there are three or more parties in number to the Agreement who desire to continue with the purposes of the Agreement.11 Another lesson concerns the critical role of sustained leadership.
The City of Los
Angeles was the early driving force behind the Authority’s creation. The City of Los Angeles—with the region’s lead airport agency, Los Angeles World Airports—is an absolutely critical participant in regional airport and ground access decision making. Yet in the eyes of some observers, Los Angeles needs to demonstrate that it is pursuing a regional rather than self-interested agenda. Finding ways to encourage the City’s active and sustained engagement on a regional agenda remains an essential task. As the region’s airport debate has shifted from new airport capacity to ground access to underutilized outlying airports, this is an opportune time to reconstitute SCRAA (subject to the approval of its members) in a manner consistent with the Regional Airport Consortium concept in SCAG’s 2004 Regional Transportation Plan.
restructuring the Authority in a looser, more flexible, confederation-like form. The focus needs to shift from centralized authority and command and control mechanisms to incentives for cooperation and coordination among the region’s various airport and ground access agencies and air carriers.
(2) New England Airport Coalition Greater Boston’s multi-jurisdictional, multi-airport system includes eleven airports located in the New England region. This system serves the Boston metropolitan area (2000 pop.: 5.8 million) as well as the adjacent Providence area. The sixth busiest airport in the U.S., Boston’s Logan International (BOS or Logan) is the core hub airport, serving nearly two-thirds of all commercial air travelers through New England airports. Logan is ringed by four smaller regional airports within an hour’s drive: ManchesterBoston Regional Airport (MHT), a Southwest hub and reliever airport; T.F. Green Airport in Providence (PVD), also a Southwest hub and reliever airport; L.G. Hanscom Field (BED), a commuter/commercial and light cargo reliever airport; and Worcester Regional Airport (ORH). Genesis and Development: The Boston area airports are part of an airport regionalization initiative spanning the six New England states and now totaling eleven airports. In 1990, the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission (MAC), a state agency, conducted a study of possible sites for a second major airport in Massachusetts to relieve crowded Logan Airport. After no other feasible site was found, a follow up study recommended as an alternative the development of a network of regional airports throughout New England. The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) took the lead in promoting regional airports to relieve congestion at Logan Airport.
Massport is an
independent public authority of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, created in 1956 to own and operate Boston’s Logan International Airport, L.G. Hanscom Field, the Tobin Memorial Bridge, and designated facilities at the Port of Boston.
It later acquired
Worcester Regional Airport. By the mid-1990s, Massport planners assumed that a high speed rail system would be needed to divert traffic to other New England airports.12 A 1995 New England Regional Air Service Study evaluated long-term regional air travel demand and airport capacity, and recommended greater regional coordination to reduce congestion at Logan Airport. Massport responded by launching a partnership with the region’s other airports to show them growth and marketing opportunities. Nine potential reliever airports in New England were initially identified. Massport sponsored a market opportunity workshop for the airports, inviting airlines and their route schedulers, and assisted with various joint marketing efforts. Massport also entered into a compact with the governors from the six New England states and the region’s airports, and helped
create a New England airport coalition with a legislative and marketing agenda. The New England Council, a private business organization, also played a catalytic lobbying role in creating the coalition.13 Mission, Powers, and Membership: What is most innovative about airport governance in the region is the New England Airport Coalition (formerly known as the New England Regional Airport Consortium). This six-state, eleven-airport group envisions itself as a cooperative venture of multiple airport authorities and state aviation agencies.
Coalition also includes the FAA Airports Division and the New England Council. These members are committed to relieving and managing future congestion at Boston’s Logan International Airport by encouraging service at secondary airports in the region. Viewed as a cooperative venture of the region’s air travel stakeholders, including multiple airport authorities, this consortium approach offers the advantage of attracting new air carrier services and passengers to regional airports without loss of local control. The airport compact has resulted in the production of brochures about New England for the tourism and travel industries that include all of the airports on a map. Joint marketing of the region and its airports has been a centerpiece of the coalition.14 The Airport Coalition was created by a memorandum of understanding (MOU). There are no bylaws, and the participants meet on an ad hoc basis.
According to one
participant, “it is a loose consortium of aviation actors huddled together by Massport and the FAA with a common goal.”15 Representatives from each of the six New England state transportation planning departments, state aviation directors, airport directors from the region’s airports, the FAA, the New England Council, and the Volpe Transportation Center meet in workshops to identify emerging issues, constraints on regional airport growth, and new opportunities for New England's regional airport system. Cooperative efforts include studies of passenger access to regional airports, and of alternative transportation systems. While there is no formal coordination of airport master planning, the consortium members are working on a common database regarding demand and market shares.16 In the words of one close observer, the New England Airport Coalition “hasn’t happened yet” in terms of instituting a formal structure, bylaws, and powers.
Thus, instead of an
operational entity, the Airport Coalition remains an informal agreement between various
agencies and organizations to meet as needed on an ad hoc basis. In late 2006, the group released its regional airport system plan, which examines demand is spread out across the region, and addresses such issues as individual airport forecasting.17 The FAA regional planning office in New England appears to be very interested in the success of the consortium. Local FAA officials have embraced regionalism, and set aside FAA funds for this effort. Coalition consulting work is jointly paid for by the FAA, Massport, and MAC. Massport and the State of Massachusetts act as sponsors of system planning. An oversight committee comprised of the six participating states and the airport managers approve policy and review the consultants’ work. There also is an academic peer review team to conduct and review demand forecasts. In 2001, the FAA, the New England States, Massport, and the airport agencies initiated a comprehensive update of the New England Regional Airport System Plan to evaluate the region’s air travel behavior; forecast the region's future air transportation demand; inventory resources; identify desirable ground access and capacity improvements; examine airport issues from a regional perspective; identify potential actions or policies to meet New England's long-term aviation needs; and recommend future marketing strategies. A key coordinating role is played by the Plan’s consultants, who publish newsletters and technical papers, and provide public notification of meetings.18 In terms of regional airport planning and governance, Massport plays a critical and catalytic role.
The Governor of Massachusetts appoints the seven members of the
Massport Board of Directors to staggered seven-year terms. Massport’s Chief Executive Officer serves at the Board’s pleasure. The mission of Massport is to develop, promote, and manage the airports, seaport, and transportation infrastructure in order to enable Massachusetts and New England to compete in the global marketplace. Massport has the power of eminent domain in certain circumstances but has no taxing power. Because Massport receives no state tax support and is financially self-sustaining, it must consider competitive market forces within the aviation, maritime, surface transportation and property development industries.
Massport’s airport-related initiatives include
expanding the joint marketing and promotion efforts of New England’s regional airports to more fully develop their air service market potential; aggressively promoting and developing Worchester airport
to meet the needs of central Massachusetts; and
strengthening interstate transportation partnerships for better airport road and rail access.19 Lessons Learned: The New England Region offers valuable insights for the SCAG region with their innovative Airport Coalition approach, and claimed success in decentralizing air passenger growth by utilizing and marketing available capacity at regional airports and existing airfields. Over the past decade, Massport, MAC, the FAA, the New England Council, the Council of New England Governors, and the New England state aviation and transportation directors have undertaken long-term regional transportation planning studies and strengthened regional transportation networks and coordination. Massport and MAC were the key public sector initiators, with the FAA and the private sector New England Council playing collaborative roles. Yet it is unclear how critical joint marketing efforts were in generating this secondary airport growth given powerful market forces and other factors. Logan had become one of the nation’s most congested airports, ranking as the second most delayed for arriving passengers. Centrifugal market forces, rising fuel costs, heightened post 9/11 security concerns and delays, and the strategic entry of discount airlines into regional airports (the so-called “Southwest effect”) appear to have been major driving forces behind New England’s dramatic regional airport growth.
For example, following the entry of
Southwest Airlines as a low-cost carrier in the late-1990s, Providence (PVD) and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) soon accounted for over one quarter of total passenger enplanements in the region.
However, by 2006, growth had stalled at
regional airports such as Manchester because of airline cutbacks and pending mergers.20 While it appears that market forces more than marketing efforts determined the success of the region’s secondary airports, New England’s regional aviation, transportation, and planning officials claim political credit for the savvy exploitation of market trends and opportunities.21 Even if market dynamics and external events represented the primary forces behind New England’s success in decentralizing activity to regional airports, lessons can be learned on how to strategically plan for and adapt to these changing dynamics in an optimal way. Regional coordination, targeted capital investments, and
joint marketing efforts can exploit changing dynamics in the aviation market in order to optimally utilize secondary airports.
(3) Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) The air transportation system for the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area (2000 pop.: 5.2 million) consists of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)—jointly owned by the cities of Dallas and Forth Worth—and a patchwork of municipal and privately operated airports. DFW, the major commercial hub for the region, is operated by an independent Airport Board. Two other airports, Alliance Airport, the fastest growing all-cargo airport in the country, and Addison Airport, one of the nation’s busiest general aviation facilities, are operated by private firms. The region’s aviation history began in 1929 with the opening of Love Field, located near downtown Dallas. Fort Worth Meacham Airport, located five miles north of that downtown, also began commercial service in 1929. However, in 1953, its commercial passenger service was moved to Greater Southwest International Airport (later the site of DFW). Meacham currently serves as a general aviation facility. Genesis, Development and Governance: Development of the region’s airport infrastructure has been spurred on by a decades-long competition between Dallas and Fort Worth.22 In 1964, the federal Civil Aeronautics Board directed the two cities to cooperate in constructing what would become DFW. The airport is located between the two cities on an 18,076 acre site that is larger than the island of Manhattan. DFW is a joint powers authority, owned and operated by Dallas and Fort Worth. A 1968 airport bond covenant between the two cities created an Airport Board to govern the facility, and limited commercial service at other local airports to intrastate flights.
approval of airport master planning lies with the City Councils of Dallas and Fort Worth, airport master planning is supervised and controlled by DFW’s Airport Board. The 11member Board hires the CEO and the executive staff.
Members of the Board are
appointed to four-year terms, with no member able to serve more than two consecutive terms. Seven members are appointed by the Dallas City Council, and four by Fort Worth’s City Council. In 2001, the Board created a 12th non-voting position to be rotated annually among four neighboring communities. 23
Under the 1968 bond covenant, existing air carriers agreed to transfer their commercial flights to the new airport. But the covenant did not include Southwest Airlines, which began service in 1971 and remained at Love Field. Southwest flights from Love Field have been a contentious issue ever since—dividing policymakers in the two cites, commercial airlines serving the region, and area residents. DFW officially opened in January 1974. Even before its opening, the DFW Airport Board began a series of legal fights to prevent Love Field from challenging its role as the sole provider of commercial air service outside the state.
In 1972, the Board sued Southwest after the airline
decided to remain at Love Field. This and subsequent suits placed the City of Dallas on both sides of the conflict. Dallas controls a majority of seats on DFW’s Board, but also owns and operates Love Field. In 1979, Congress passed the Wright Amendment to the International Air Transportation Competition Act. This permitted a limited number of interstate flights from Love Field to states neighboring Texas, but also limited future flights at the facility. In 1979, Southwest launched interstate service from Love Field to New Orleans. The Dallas City Council initially supported efforts to limit flights at Love Field, but in 1992 voted to reconsider its support for the Wright Amendment.
In 1997, new federal
legislation expanded the number of permissible flights to cities outside Texas. Several carriers then began offering service from Love Field to Chicago, Cleveland and Los Angeles. In response, the City of Fort Worth and American Airlines sued to prevent erosion of the Wright Amendment restrictions. Dallas then sued Fort Worth and the federal Department of Transportation. These legal fights stretched into 2000, when the Supreme Court refused to revisit a decision by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the new Love Field interstate flights to continue. The role of DFW’s Board in the Love Field battles suggests that it is not a mere surrogate for the Dallas City Council appointing authority. Indeed, the Board’s activities are often greeted with greater enthusiasm in Fort Worth than in Dallas, which nominally controls a majority of the Board members. The DFW Board continues its bare-knuckles pursuit of flight restrictions, encouraging residents living around Love Field to oppose expansion.
The Board also has not wavered in its support of an ambitious capital
improvements program, despite doubts raised by members of the Dallas City Council following the economic downturn after September 11, 2001.24
The inability to mold the Board has much to do with Dallas’s internal political divisions. The City Council is divided along racial and ethnic lines, and diversity concerns have animated recent appointments to the Board.25 The Airport Board’s independence also may be due to the weak executive powers of city government. Both cities have the council-manager form of government, where a “weak” mayor lacks veto power and has no budget authority. While both mayors sit on the Airport Board, the other members are appointed by their respective city councils to fixed terms. Lessons Learned:
The experience of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex highlights both
the advantages and disadvantages of intra-regional competition.
It was competition
between the two cities that resulted in the development of substantial airport infrastructure. Competition between carriers at DFW and Love Field has undoubtedly kept prices low and provided new air transportation options for customers in the region. Unfortunately, competition has also spawned a nasty legal fight, which appears to be more about the market shares of competing airlines than providing new and better air transport options for the region. Moreover, the prolonged legal struggle has made the already difficult process of achieving consensus on airport master planning issues more divisive. The position of the DFW management team, which serves multiple masters, seems particularly difficult. Unlike many airport facilities, the design and operation of DFW has been shaped by the activities of federal agencies and legislators. A federal mandate was required to get the City of Dallas to the negotiating table for a new regional airport in the 1960s. The FAA told both cities to agree on a new site within 180 days or the federal government would do it for them. Prior to the mandate, political officials in the two cities were in a difficult position. The City of Dallas had invested in Love Field, which generated large economic gains for the city. Continued expansion of Love Field, however, was becoming prohibitively expensive. City officials in Fort Worth, on the other hand, had a large, convenient site for a new hub airport, but lacked the resources to develop it and faced stiff competition from Love Field. The federal mandate gave political cover in Dallas and brought needed resources for DFW’s development. Federally mandated cooperation between the two cities has resulted in one of the world’s most successful airports. DFW
is the primary economic engine for the region, generating $11 billion in annual economic activity and 211,000 local jobs. However, federal participation in local airport infrastructure debates since the 1968 agreement has been less focused on regional efficiency and more on local politics. Indeed, although both cities agreed to the covenant, nothing prevents either city from pursuing legislation that would alter its original terms. Specifically, the flight limits from Love Field can be strengthened or relaxed by federal legislation. Both sides of the Love Field dispute have found willing sponsors in Congress. However, while the FAA was motivated by the desire to avoid duplication of resources within the entire Dallas/Fort Worth region, members of Congress need only curry favor with voters in their local constituencies.
The economic efficiency concerns that motivated initial cooperation
have been replaced by distributional concerns. Whether flight restrictions at Love Field are a net benefit to the regional economy or not seems beside the point in the continuing political dispute over the Wright Amendment.26 The DFW JPA governance model has limited applicability to a new airport management structure for Southern California. In the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the mission was to jointly build and operate a new international airport serving the region. Thus, the DFW JPA was granted extensive proprietary powers. In Southern California, the mission and requisite powers are different. Here, the mission is to promote the marketing of and facilitate ground access to outlying and underutilized suburban airports. As a result, there is consensus among regional stakeholders that SCRAAâ€™s proprietary powers are not needed and should be eliminated. The DFW model of limiting board representation to a few local governments is also not applicable to the SCAG region. In Southern California, there interest in expanding consortium membership to all of Southern California, including Ventura, San Diego and Imperial Counties. Finally, the DFW model of proportional Board representation (with more populous Dallas having seven of eleven Board seats) is also of limited local interest and applicability.
STRUCTURE In the following pages we outline a preferred governance approach and concrete recommendations for (a) restructuring the Southern California Regional Airport Authority; or, if SCRAA falters, for (b) creating a new Regional Airport Consortium.
recommendations presented here are informed by detailed stakeholder interviews with Southern California airport operators, transportation providers, federal and state officials, air carriers, policy experts and former and current SCRAA officials.
extends the discussion of the governance lessons learned from the past history of the Regional Airport Authority, identifies three main governance approaches, and offers a promising “power-sharing” approach to achieve regional coordination going forward. The recommendations for the Regional Airport Authority are designed to improve its existing structure, taking into account the political and legal constraints created by the 1985 JPA. For the Consortium alternative, the recommendations are pitched at a more general level, recognizing that more specific decisions regarding such an entity would be influenced by the ultimate fate of SCRAA. The recommendations for both a restructured SCRAA and new Consortium are organized under the topics of mission, membership and formal powers. Decisions about mission, membership and formal powers will be among the most consequential undertaken by the Regional Airport Authority’s Board in the near term. In presenting these recommendations, an attempt is made to describe important alternatives and tradeoffs.
Three Approaches to Regional Airport Governance In considering a new airport management structure for Southern California, past attempts to effect regional coordination through the Southern California Regional Airport Authority are instructive. Many of the disagreements that plagued the previous life of the Regional Airport Authority were disagreements over how to achieve goals that were widely shared. There was and continues to be broad agreement on the importance of airports to the regional economy, the need for additional capacity to serve future demand and the importance of regional planning and decision-making. Moreover, the agreement by four counties and the City of Los Angeles to a JPA delegating expansive powers to a
regional entity demonstrates that substantial political will can be mobilized behind comprehensive solutions. However, there were insoluble conflicts over the distribution of burdens and benefits. Why were members unable to find common ground, especially around decentralization and ground access? Several characteristics of the Authority’s structure and mission come to mind. First, the broad powers contained in the original JPA raised questions about the Authority’s intentions.
Second, the unilateral veto possessed by board
members made it difficult to undertake collective decision-making. These issues are taken up in the recommendations below. Finally, the perceived lack of responsiveness to local concerns and accountability led some members to withdraw their support and participation. The regional policy context has changed substantially since the creation of SCRAA in the 1980s. Two watershed events—the LAX Master Plan Settlement Agreement and resolution of the El Toro airport siting debate—have shifted the focus of regional aviation debates. In the wake of these two events, a new regional consensus has formed around air traffic decentralization. There is no longer major substantive disagreement over the basic strategy, i.e., how to address the capacity shortfall facing the region. Important disagreements will crop up over the details of implementing the strategy, especially with respect to the distribution of burdens and benefits, but everybody now sees (or should) the big picture. This new consensus requires a corresponding governance approach that is consistent with the political realities in the SCAG region. Three alternative approaches to regional governance come to mind. The first approach involves no regional coordination. Under this approach, individual airports and affected communities battle fiercely to protect local prerogatives. Intra-regional competition between airports rather than coordinated action to share burdens and benefits is the main dynamic driving airport development. This is essentially the status quo situation in the SCAG region. The second approach can be called “regional leviathan”, which describes the Regional Airport Authority in its previous incarnation. The word “leviathan” is loosely employed because the broad powers in the 1985 JPA were tempered by a voting rule that virtually
guaranteed they would never be used. Nevertheless, the Authority is perceived by many stakeholders in the region to be a top-down solution capable of imposing its will on local governments that jealously guard their autonomy. The third approach establishes coordination at the regional level and important zones of local autonomy. In political parlance, this approach to governance has been referred to as power-sharing. Its essential features are three-fold: First, the distribution of powers between levels of government is well-defined and leaves important spheres of decisionmaking authority to local governments. Thus, what the regional entity can and cannot do is precisely spelled out. Second, each constituency with a recognized interest—in this case, airport operators, ground transportation providers, air carriers, local and county jurisdictions—receives a seat at the table. Third, decision rules are set up to require broad consensus. This usually involves some version of proportional representation with supermajority voting rules to ensure that large constituencies do not dominate. For those looking for a fundamental principle or idea to organize discussions concerning changes to the current structure of the Regional Airport Authority or to differentiate the future work of SCRAA from past failures, this third approach is a worthy candidate. While no particular set of governing arrangements by itself guarantees success, the project team believes that any approach that does not incorporate the essential features of power-sharing will ultimately fail.
Restructuring the Southern California Regional Airport Authority (1) Mission The stakeholder surveys indicate that defining what the Regional Airport Authority will and will not do is likely to be the single most important issue in re-designing the organization.
The past history of the Authority suggests that defining what the
organization will not do has often been the greater obstacle. Indeed, the basic language of the original JPA—“no single existing governmental entity or institution has the requisite authority and present capability to resolve the Southern California Region’s aircarrier capacity shortfall and to independently develop regional facilities”—rings as true today as in the mid-1980s.
The need for a regional organization like SCRAA to help resolve the capacity shortfall has only grown more urgent in the intervening years. SCAG predicts that air passenger demand in the six-county region will grow from 90 million to 170 million air passengers by the year 2030. The volume of air cargo is expected to increase from 2.8 million to 8.7 million tons over this same period. Clearly, the region does not yet have the ability to meet this demand. If the region fails to address this gap, the substantial economic spillover generated by increased airport traffic will not be realized. Below are considerations to help guide the Regional Airport Authority as it attempts to revamp its activities. These can form the basis of a new mission statement for SCRAA that recognizes the interdependent nature of aviation strategies like air traffic decentralization.
They are consistent with the power-sharing approach advocated
above: 1. The overriding challenge facing the Southern California region continues to be a potential shortfall in meeting aviation demand and the absence of institutions with a regional scope to address this shortfall. The motivation for creating a Regional Airport Authority remains unchanged. 2. Changes in the regional policy context dictate that the basic strategy for addressing the shortfall has, of necessity, shifted from developing new capacity to better utilization of existing capacity. 3. Whereas, existing air-carrier capacity is currently located in the Inland areas while the bulk of air passenger and cargo demand is generated near the coast, one focus of regional efforts needs to be developing ground access solutions to facilitate the movement of people and goods to and from Southern California airports. 4. Whereas, facilities in the Inland areas possess sufficient runway capacity, but lack critical on-site infrastructure, air service, and ground access, one focus of regional efforts must be to initiate programs and funding mechanisms to further develop and market these facilities. These initiatives ought to be consistent with the goals of the policy-making entities responsible for these facilities. These statements begin to address what a newly reconstituted SCRAA should do. They are designed to commit the Authority to a strategy of decentralization and focus its work
on developing ground access and on-site projects to enhance the capabilities of existing facilities to serve passenger and cargo demand. In addition to these recommendations, an explicit statement that eliminates the development, ownership and operation of new or existing airports from the Authority’s mission would alleviate the concerns of local officials and remove an important source of distraction.
SCRAA’s relationship with
SCAG also needs to be spelled out. 5. The parties to this agreement recognize that the appropriate role of a regional organization is to facilitate air traffic decentralization to existing airports rather than developing, owning and operating new or existing airports in Southern California. 6. The Authority needs to work with SCAG to delineate their respective regional planning roles. SCRAA should use SCAG’s regional airport and ground access planning capabilities and products. Explicitly excluding these expansive functions from SCRAA’s purview will obviate some of the more strident criticisms of its current structure. However, doing so invites the question of what functions the new organization will adopt in promoting air traffic decentralization.
Will SCRAA be a legislative body, a planning organization, an
implementation agency or something else?
SCAG’s Aviation Task Force has
recommended that the Board consider changing the name of the organization to better reflect its revised mission.
If the Board endorses the removal of SCRAA’s more
expansive functions, a term like “Consortium” or “Council” might be appropriate. (2) Membership Once the mission of the reconstituted Regional Airport Authority is better understood, questions about membership in the organization can be given more careful consideration than is possible here. Nevertheless, the stakeholder surveys suggest that three questions will be paramount in selecting members to participate in SCRAA’s deliberations: (a) what is the appropriate size of SCRAA’s policy-making Board? (b) Who will be invited to participate? (c) What are the respective roles of elected officials and technical staff?
Size of the Board:
Changing the size of SCRAA’s policy-making Board involves
several important tradeoffs. The advantages of a small decision-making body include minimal coordination costs and enhanced identifiability (i.e., easy to identify those responsible for particular decisions). Smaller bodies do not need elaborate hierarchies or procedures to organize their work. Members of smaller bodies also have greater difficulty shirking responsibility for collective decisions. The disadvantages of a small decision-making body, however, can be substantial. First, active participation by each member is usually necessary.
In the past, SCRAA’s Board was unable to reach a
quorum when one or more members were absent or elected to withdraw. Second, every member of a small body is pivotal. Thus, undertaking any action without unanimous or near-unanimous consent is difficult.
Third, smaller boards have greater difficulty
representing diverse constituencies. Expecting a single member to represent all of L.A. County’s communities, for example, asks a great deal of its representative.27 Who Will Join: One of the main findings of the stakeholder survey was that Southern California’s airport operators need better representation in a restructured SCRAA. Including airport operators in SCRAA deliberations is especially important if the mission of the organization changes from locating and developing new capacity to making better use of existing capacity.
The Authority needs to understand both the visions and
constraints at each of Southern California’s existing and potential commercial airports in crafting comprehensive ground access solutions. Giving airport operators seats on the SCRAA Board, however, has several potential drawbacks. First, it creates an odd mix of jurisdictions on the policy-making body, with some members representing counties and others airport communities within counties. Some communities may be represented by more than one Board member. Second, since L.A. County contains more airports than other counties, making airport operators full members will increase the L.A. influence of an organization that some other jurisdictions already perceive as dominated by Los Angeles.
Third, some airport
communities might be uninterested in participating. Nor is it obvious how the voices of counties and airport operators ought to be weighted (e.g., equal or asymmetric vote shares) in SCRAA’s decision-making processes. Is it fair or desirable for the voice of a small airport community to count as much as that of large, diverse counties?
The stakeholder surveys offer guidance about participation by other entities.
conversations with the project team and at the October 12, 2006 meeting of the Regional Airport Authority Board of Directors, members of the Board endorsed the idea of inviting Ventura, San Diego and perhaps other counties such as Imperial to join.
respondents also thought that county transportation commissions, FAA and Caltrans officials, public interest agencies and representatives from the private sector might better serve in an advisory capacity. FAA participation and endorsement can be critical to successful implementation of a decentralization agenda.
respondents believe that private sector participation will be critical. The survey results also indicate that air carriers would welcome a seat at the table. The expertise and implementing capacity of Southern California’s ground transportation agencies will also be necessary to develop comprehensive ground access solutions.
organizations formal voting rights, however, might detract from the Authority’s focus on aviation-related issues. Elected Officials and Administrators: One of the critical challenges in setting the Authority’s membership is to specify appropriate roles for both elected officials and airport administrators, though active participation by both is necessary. The participation and support of elected officials will be needed to give direction and legitimacy to SCRAA’s evolving decentralization agenda. Elected officials can bargain directly with state and federal policy-makers and prod local actors (e.g., LAWA) to undertake specific initiatives.
Several activities proposed for the Regional Airport Authority—e.g.,
prioritizing projects for federal funding—require the detailed technical information possessed by airport operators. One solution is to retain a Board composed entirely of elected officials, but adopt a technical advisory committee system that provides the Board with regular policy advice from administrators knowledgeable about the technical requirements of operating modern commercial airports in Southern California. Below are five concrete recommendations to guide the SCRAA Board as it considers questions of membership in the Regional Airport Authority: 1. The Counties of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside, and the City of Los Angeles ought to be full participating members. However, Orange and Riverside Counties appear to be ambivalent about participating, citing defects in
the current SCRAA JPA.28 As the Board revises the Joint Powers Agreement, it needs to be responsive to their concerns and thus help encourage the reactivation of their membership and participation. 2. The Counties of Ventura, Imperial and San Diego ought to be invited to join as full members. 3. The ten existing and potential commercial airport operators in Southern California ought to be invited to join as associate members and members of a new technical advisory committee that meets regularly and provides recommendations to the Board. 4. The FAA and Caltrans ought to send one ex-officio representative each to serve on the Board. The Board ought to invite air carriers serving the region to appoint a liaison to serve as an ex-officio member of the Board and technical advisory committee. 5. The county transportation commissions and other ground transportation providers ought to be invited to join in SCRAA deliberations on an ad hoc basis, i.e., as members of SCRAA committees or task forces formed to address ground access problems at particular facilities. One rationale for creating a county-based representation scheme for SCRAA was that the issues involved in siting and developing a new airport require political perspectives of reasonably large scope. The large districts represented by county supervisors provide SCRAA with a broad, regional perspective. The kind of ground access solutions needed to make air traffic decentralization a reality will require similarly broad perspectives. Counties can continue to play a vital role in ensuring that any solutions developed by the Authority will be regional in scope and have the political legitimacy of decisions undertaken by the county boards that govern in the SCAG region. (3) SCRAA’s Powers The past history of the Regional Airport Authority demonstrates that possession of broad powers can distract from efforts to effect regional coordination, even if nobody intends or is able to make use of those powers. SCRAA’s leviathan-like powers made it necessary for members to institute strait-jacket voting rules, such as the contractual veto and unanimity.
Thus, the quite understandable desire to prevent the worst abuses of
SCRAA’s expansive powers led members to adopt voting structures that made any kind
of concerted action difficult to achieve. Integral to the power-sharing approach is the appropriate vertical distribution of rights and responsibilities.
The Regional Airport
Authority must have enough legal authority to be an active facilitator of air traffic decentralization. The Board must also recognize that some powers and activities are better left to local jurisdictions responsible for operating Southern California’s airports. The three recommendations listed below are intended to clarify the vertical relationship between the Regional Airport Authority and Southern California’s airport operators and ground transportation providers. Authority will not do.
They ensure that the JPA will specify what the
The substance of these recommendations has broad support
among Southern California’s key impacted stakeholders. Adopting them will help the Board build support for an active role for the organization. 1.
Proprietary powers, including the authority to develop, own and operate new or existing commercial airports ought to be eliminated.
The power of eminent domain ought to be eliminated.
The Board ought to consider the utility of retaining the legal authority to raise revenues through bond offerings and similar financial mechanisms.
Lacking these expansive powers, the character of the Regional Airport Authority begins to resemble the structured MOU-like arrangement favored by SCAG in its 2004 Regional Transportation Plan and endorsed by the 2005 SCAG Regional Airport Management Study. The advantages that such an arrangement would have over a pure MOU include active participation by elected officials at the highest levels of local government; a legal framework that would allow additional powers to be added by members at a later date; and an existing decision-making process and organization (i.e., left-over funds) that would minimize start-up costs. With no silver bullet strategy available to achieve air traffic decentralization in the near term, SCRAA’s organizational approach be ought to be incremental and geared toward long-tem objectives. A more flexible structured MOUlike arrangement can serve as a platform for building an effective long-term organization.
The Regional Airport Consortium The stakeholder survey confirmed that the SCAG region does not need both SCRAA and a Regional Airport Consortium. Thus, a Regional Airport Consortium would need to
be created only in the event that the newly reconstituted Regional Airport Authority fails. Such a failure would constitute a severe setback for regional coordination efforts, but would not change the fundamental need for a regional entity to facilitate air traffic decentralization. In the event that creating a Regional Airport Consortium becomes necessary, decisions about structuring the organization ought to be informed by what did and did not work under the Regional Airport Authority. Nevertheless, the information collected from the stakeholder surveys can form the basis of a preliminary discussion of what the structure of such an entity might look like. (1) Mission Whether it is a newly reconstituted SCRAA or a Regional Airport Consortium, the basic mission of the organization designated to facilitate air traffic decentralization in Southern California remains the same. The voluntary character of an MOU entails that members need not fear that the powers of the regional entity will be abused to infringe on local autonomy.
With an MOU, therefore, it will be less important to specify what the
organization will not do since members generally opt into programs and initiatives. In defining the mission of the Regional Airport Consortium, statements one through four offered above for restructuring SCRAAâ€™s mission are equally applicable.
statement that explicitly excludes the intention to develop, own or operate a new or existing commercial airport, however, is superfluous. (2) Membership If the Regional Airport Authority fails, it will be because elected officials at the highest levels of local government were unable to achieve the level of trust necessary for effective collective action. Changing the regional entity from a Regional Airport Authority created via a JPA to a Consortium created via an MOU does not change that basic fact. Thus, an MOU arrangement among the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties makes little sense in the aftermath of another SCRAA meltdown. Rather than a county-based representation scheme, the Consortium would take the form of an agreement between the ten existing and potential commercial airport operators in the SCAG region. This would be similar in form to the New England Airport Coalition. What such an arrangement lacks in overall political legitimacy would be made up for in its ability to sidestep longstanding rivalries among the SCAG regionâ€™s political jurisdictions.
The responses to the stakeholder survey’s questions about structuring a Regional Airport Consortium indicate that the same basic questions must be answered in selecting members to participate. These include: (a) what is the appropriate size of the Consortium? (b) Who should be invited to participate? (c) What are the roles of elected officials and airport administrators? In addition to these issues, the absence of a formal, deliberative body of elected officials and the voluntary nature of the MOU arrangement begs the question of: (d) Who will provide the necessary leadership? Organizational Size and Membership: Creating an MOU-based organization from scratch offers greater flexibility in setting the size of the Consortium and selecting members to participate in its deliberations. While the basic mission of the Consortium would be nearly identical to the one adopted for SCRAA, the work of its primary decision-making body or board would likely be different.
Decision-making under an
MOU tends to focus on particular programs and projects rather than broad policymaking. Nevertheless, any decisions that emerge from an MOU are forms of collective action and, therefore, subject to the same tradeoffs on organization size. Larger deliberative bodies face high coordination costs, but are able to represent a greater diversity of opinion. Smaller bodies can undertake collective decisions more easily when members agree on a course of action, but can become paralyzed when just one or two members withhold consent. Thus, a body the size of SCRAA’s current Board will probably be too small, whereas a body that exceeds 20 members will seem unwieldy. Members of the Regional Airport Authority’s Board have gone on record as favoring a broader mega-regional approach that incorporates Ventura, San Diego and potentially Imperial Counties. How these jurisdictions fit into an MOU organization composed of airport operators is unclear. Ventura County, for example, has no commercial airport and there are no plans to build one. In San Diego, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (SDCRAA) is responsible for operating San Diego International Airport. This facility, however, is built out and the November 2006 decision by voters of San Diego County to reject possible future joint-use at Miramar suggests that the focus of the region will be on making the best use of Lindbergh Field. Still, San Diego is heavily dependent on SCAG region airports and some level of participation by SDCRAA or an entity like the San Diego Association of Governments might be desirable.29 Imperial
County might one day become the site of a new commercial airport, but not in the immediate future. Participation by the FAA and Caltrans will be just as important to the fate of the Regional Airport Consortium as to SCRAA. FAA endorsement and funding will be crucial to any efforts at regional coordination. The federal role is discussed further below. Similarly, state agencies like Caltrans can assist the Consortium by interfacing with ground transportation providers, identifying funding sources for ground access projects and assisting compliance with state and federal regulations. The stakeholder surveys also found that buy-in by air carriers would be important. Strategies to achieve air traffic decentralization must be consistent with market forces shaping the industry and cooperation by air carriers will be necessary in moving flights to airports in the Inland counties. The emphasis of decentralization strategies on ground access means that some participation by ground transportation providers will be desirable. Implementing comprehensive ground access solutions will require the cooperation of county transportation commissions and individual transportation agencies like the Southern California Regional Rail Authority. Elected Officials, Administrators and Leadership: Specifying the appropriate roles for elected officials and administrators will be as much of a challenge in creating the Consortium as it will be for the newly reconstituted SCRAA.
doubted the efficacy of including elected officials and administrators in a single deliberative body, but agreed that participation by both would be important. Participation and support by elected officials serving on the policy-making boards of Southern Californiaâ€™s existing and potential commercial airports will be needed to design, approve and monitor initiatives undertaken by the Consortium. These initiatives will draw heavily on the practical expertise possessed by technical staff.
Separating politicians and
administrators into two groupsâ€”a Board composed entirely of elected officials to meet quarterly, and a technical advisory committee of technical staff that would meet monthly or bi-monthly and provide the Board with regular policy adviceâ€”can ensure that the organization takes advantage of the different categories of expertise of while minimizing the burden on both groups.
The New England Airport Coalition MOU offers a useful model for the importance of leadership in initiating and maintaining a voluntary organization for achieving coordination on regional aviation issues.
In New England, leadership and financial
support by the FAA and Massport (responsible for operating Boston’s Logan Airport) were crucial in setting up cooperative agreements among airport operators to draft a regional aviation plan and advertise New England’s smaller airports.
California, the FAA and City of Los Angeles (i.e., LAWA) need to play similar initiating and leadership roles. Below are five recommendations to guide the process of creating a Regional Airport Consortium on questions of membership: 1. The ten existing and potential commercial airport operators in Southern California ought to form the core membership of a Regional Airport Consortium formed to facilitate air traffic decentralization and coordinate on other regional aviation issues. The Consortium also ought to consider inviting the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority to join if there is sufficient interest among existing members and the Authority. 2. Elected officials from the ten existing and potential commercial airport operators in Southern California ought to form a new policy-making board that meets periodically to approve new programs, initiatives and resolutions. 3. Technical staff from the ten existing and potential commercial airport operators in Southern California ought to form a new technical advisory committee that meets regularly and provides recommendations to the Board. 4. SCAG, the FAA and Caltrans ought to send one ex-officio representative each to participate in the Consortium’s deliberations. The air carriers serving the region ought to be invited to appoint a liaison to serve as an ex-officio member of the Board and technical advisory committee. 5. The county transportation commissions and other ground transportation providers ought to be invited to join in the Consortium’s deliberations on an ad hoc basis, i.e., as members of Consortium committees or task forces formed to address ground access problems at particular facilities.
(3) Consortium Powers Just as the loose MOU form of organization encourages members to opt into particular Consortium initiatives, it also allows them to opt out of those they prefer not to support or to eschew joining altogether. The Consortium would not have the kind of expansive proprietary powers that raise concerns among Southern Californiaâ€™s key impacted stakeholders. Why would Southern Californiaâ€™s airport operators want to create and participate in such an organization? The answer must lie in the benefits provided by a forum that gathers together the information and expertise that currently resides separately in airport operators around the region. Many of the potential benefits to individual operators and the SCAG region are listed in the main findings and subregional perspectives of the stakeholder survey above. The stakeholder surveys show that Southern Californiaâ€™s airport operators see the need for and are willing to participate in a regional forum to address the air-carrier capacity and ground access shortfalls that loom in the not-too-distant future.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES, TIMELINE AND MILESTONES This final section outlines implementation strategies and milestones to guide the work of the Regional Airport Authority in 2007 and thereafter. The recommendations provided here are informed by the findings of the stakeholder surveys presented above. The recommendations are also consistent with two broad principles advocated throughout this report.
The first principle, power-sharing, constitutes the most appropriate
governance approach for restructuring the Regional Airport Authority and organizing its deliberations.
The second principle, incrementalism, acknowledges that there is no
obvious or immediate cure-all strategy to resolve the air carrier capacity shortfall and ground access challenges facing the region. The energy of the Authority will be better spent cultivating support for an active role in facilitating air traffic decentralization, and establishing a functioning organization capable of identifying and responding to opportunities for regional coordination as they evolve over time. In addition to providing recommendations to guide the implementation process, this section identifies several basic milestones and suggests a timeline to enable Southern California’s key impacted stakeholders to measure the Authority’s progress. Movement toward these milestones would, in the view of the project team, constitute genuine progress for the decentralization agenda. If the Authority proves unable to accomplish some or all of these goals, then other strategies, like the Regional Airport Consortium suggested by SCAG in its 2004 RTP, will probably be necessary. The recommendations and milestones are organized under three phases of implementation:
consensus and participation; (2) setting up an institutional framework and organization; and (3) sustaining and growing the Authority.
Phase I: Building Consensus and Participation Phase I officially began in June 2006 when the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office sent letters to other members of the Authority inviting them to participate in a revived Regional Airport Authority. In building consensus for an effective role for SCRAA, the support and participation of four groups of stakeholders will be instrumental. These four groups include: (a) elected officials from the City of Los Angeles, the four counties that form SCRAA’s current membership; (b) Southern California’s ten existing and potential commercial airport operators; (c) state and federal aviation and transportation officials,
the Office of the Governor, and Southern California’s congressional delegation; and (d) air carriers serving the region. The cooperation of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe in restarting the Regional Airport Authority was itself an important milestone. If SCRAA is to succeed in its latest incarnation, the L.A. Mayor’s Office will have to assume an active and sustained leadership role. San Bernardino and Riverside Counties both sent representatives to the Board meeting in October 2006, indicating their continuing interest in regional coordination.
Orange County, however, was
conspicuous in its absence. Interviews with stakeholders in the county revealed that officials there worry about creating another layer of government, especially one dominated by Los Angeles. Several of the recommended changes to the existing JPA offered in the previous section would help alleviate concerns that Orange County respondents have expressed about the Authority. In addition to these changes, the Board must perform whatever outreach is necessary to convince Orange County to participate in SCRAA deliberations. The main findings of the stakeholder survey indicate that Southern California’s airport operators already support the idea of creating a regional entity to facilitate air traffic decentralization and other regional coordination activities. Nearly all of the operators indicated a willingness to participate in SCRAA deliberations.
suggest that the Authority will not have to “sell” regionalization to this important group of stakeholders. The Board will need to convince airport communities in the region that SCRAA can be an effective vehicle for carrying out a decentralization agenda. Neither the past history of the Authority nor its current legal structure inspires confidence among airport operators. Most operators, however, have adopted a “wait-and-see” approach to SCRAA.
The information on sub-regional perspectives provides some ideas about
programs and projects that would make the Authority relevant to different airports around the SCAG region. Securing the recognition and support of the FAA ought to be among the top priorities of the Board in 2007.
FAA funding for regional aviation planning and ground access
projects will be necessary if SCRAA is to make any progress on air traffic decentralization. In pursuing FAA funding, the Board ought to continue to reach out to
members of Southern California’s congressional delegation.
Congress will be
considering FAA reauthorization during the 2007 legislative session. The Board will also need to initiate contact with the private sector aviation community. The information on private sector perspectives presented above suggests that air carriers view some proposals for pursuing decentralization skeptically, e.g., the use of airport funding for offsite ground access projects. Wholehearted support of every SCRAA initiative might be too much to ask, but the Authority ought to establish regular contact with air carriers serving the region to minimize miscommunication about its intentions and activities. Early feedback by the airlines on SCRAA initiatives can also ensure that the Authority does not squander its time and resources on unnecessary programs. To supplement the recommendations on restructuring the JPA presented in the previous section, the three action items below warrant consideration by the Board as it crafts a decentralization agenda for the region and seeks support for a more active role for the Regional Airport Authority: 1. The Board ought to consider (and adopt) the comments and recommendations endorsed by SCAG’s Aviation Task Force. 2. The Board ought to extend a formal invitation to the FAA and Caltrans to join SCRAA as ex-officio members. 3. The Board ought to appoint a committee or direct staff to prepare a legislative program for 2007. Two action items on this program might include: a. Change the current FAA law to provide maximum flexibility in the use of Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) revenues for ground access improvements. b. Change the current FAA law to eliminate the federal “cap” on PFCs.30 These action items are things the Board can accomplish quickly. In any event, if the Authority hopes to play an advocate’s role in the FAA reauthorization process, the Board must begin to develop a concrete legislative program that can be supported by elected officials and airport operators in the SCAG region. The following five milestones, if completed by mid-2007, would indicate satisfactory progress on Phase I implementation of a SCRAA-based airport management structure:
1. Orange County’s reactivation of membership and participation in SCRAA deliberations. 2. Explicit recognition by the FAA of the Regional Airport Authority’s role in facilitating regional coordination efforts among airport communities in Southern California. 3. Appointment of an FAA representative to participate in SCRAA deliberations. 4. Circulation of a draft legislative program on aviation issues to elected officials, airport operators and other key impacted stakeholders. 5. Explicit support by the Office of the Governor for key components of the Regional Airport Authority’s legislative program.
Phase II: Setting Up an Institutional Framework and Organization As the Authority continues to build support for its activities, the Board needs to attend to the hard work of revising the existing JPA and setting up an organization to interface with stakeholders and oversee SCRAA initiatives. At the October 2006 meeting of the Board, members agreed to have their legal departments study the existing JPA and propose changes that would help the Authority operate more efficiently. Thus, Phase II of the implementation process, which includes setting up a decision-making framework to organize the deliberations of the Board, has already begun. It is encouraging that SCRAA is planning to hold a series of public workshops, inviting dialogue and participation, as it considers governance options and revisions to the Joint Powers Agreement. One subject the Board has yet to address is the structure of the organization needed to support the Authority’s work going forward. The 1985 JPA calls on the parties to hire a chief executive officer to head an independent organization charged with carrying out the Board’s decisions and providing it with legal and technical assistance.
reconstituted Regional Airport Authority needs a spokesperson and advocate to oversee the formation of the basic organization, including the hiring of high-level executive personnel and drafting of office guidelines and legal documents. It is inappropriate to expect that the elected officials serving on SCRAA’s Board should attend to the day-today matters of running a functioning organization. The Board should begin the search for a new chief executive officer and adopt a contribution scheme to ensure that this person, when hired, will have sufficient resources to do the job.
Recommendations on setting up the institutional framework were given in the previous section. In addition to those recommendations, three action items related to building and staffing an organization to support the work of the Board are provided here: 1. The Board ought to immediately appoint a search committee to oversee the hiring of the chief executive officer and other high-level personnel. 2. The Board ought to revise its current contribution scheme to ensure that sufficient funds will be available to fund the organization in future years. Contributions ought to be mandatory; they ought not to be overly extravagant (i.e., serve as a severe disincentive to participation). 3. The Board ought to draft, with the help of the chief executive officer or designated management consultants, an organizational blueprint or plan with guidelines for the Authorityâ€™s first full year of operation. The SCAG 2005 Airport Management Study pointed out the difficulties the Board faces in making changes to the existing Joint Powers Agreement (e.g., unanimity required for new members and substantial amendments). The ability to approve a revised version of the JPA will provide a quick indication of the spirit of cooperation among the Board. What the Board elects to do with respect to investing the Authority with technical staff and resources will similarly communicate a great deal about whether it intends to be a serious player in regional aviation debates.
Deliberation without the capacity to
implement is a recipe for institutional futility.
The Board ought to work toward the
following milestones in its first full year of operation. Achievement of some or all of these by December 2007 would constitute real progress on Phase II implementation: 1. Completion of an initial round of revisions and amendments to the 1985 JPA, including agreement on a revamped mission statement, and decisions about new members, changes to the current representation scheme and voting rules, and elimination of existing proprietary powers. 2. Appointment of a chief executive officer and other management personnel to carry out the decisions of the Authority and provide technical and legal assistance to the Board.
3. Agreement on a revised contribution schedule that provides sufficient resources to staff the Authorityâ€™s basic organizational needs. Payment of membership dues by each of its current members. 4. Approval of a plan to guide the Authority in its first full year of operation, including an organization chart, initial budget and proposed activities.
Phase III: Sustaining and Growing SCRAA Eliminating the proprietary powers as recommended in the previous section would give the Authority the character of a MOU, but with an elected Board and support structure to lend political legitimacy and capacity to regional coordination.
This more flexible
arrangement can serve as a platform for building an effective long-term organization. Having a JPA in place also provides a firm legal basis for Authority activities and an institutional permanence that is sometimes lacking in MOU arrangements. The past history of SCRAA demonstrates, however, that legal permanence, and institutional relevance, legitimacy and sustainability are different things. Once the initial work of consensus-building and organization-building are completed, the Board and the personnel charged with implementing its decisions will need to develop strategies for sustaining regional coordination efforts over time. The U.S. political system is awash in public agencies, interest groups and quasigovernmental entities advocating particular causes. The multiplicity of causes obscures the fundamental problem of survival that all groups formed to facilitate collective action must face. The primary objective of a majority of these organizations is mere survival rather than political influence. Survival is a prerequisite to anything else an organization might do. Management and staff at these organizations spend a great deal of their time just keeping the organization going. The overriding need to assure survival is worth keeping in mind in thinking about strategies for sustaining and growing SCRAA or any other vehicle to effect regional coordination. The basic purpose of reconstituting the Regional Airport Authority was to create an entity to facilitate air traffic decentralization in Southern California. Nevertheless, the efforts of the Board and chief executive, at least in the initial months and years of operation, ought to be directed as much toward survival as policy achievements.
To survive and grow, the Regional Airport Authority must do what any well-run organization does. This includes cultivating and retaining supporters that can provide funding and resources for sustaining the organization. Initially, the Authority will need to survive on the contributions of its existing members. The Authorityâ€™s initiatives will have to pass muster with the city and county jurisdictions responsible for paying the bills. While each of these jurisdictions has a vested interest in air traffic decentralization, there will be pressure by elected officials to undertake programs and projects the yield local as well as regional benefits. To offset the inevitable pressures toward â€œparochialism,â€? the Authority must work to identify additional sources of funding, e.g., state and federal planning grants. In pursuing a decentralization agenda, the Authority will need the direction and political cover provided by elected officials, and the technical information and capacity possessed by airport operators around the region.
Thus, to sustain and grow, the
Authority will have to establish credibility with both elected officials and airport operators. To do so, the Board and the personnel supporting it will have to spend ample time educating elected officials on the air capacity needs of the region and the technical requirements (and economic benefits) of maintaining a modern commercial airport in Southern California.
The Authority will also have to spend time educating airport
operators about the realities of state and national government. Indeed, the organization is likely to spend as much or more time building consensus for particular initiatives as it does working to push the necessary measures through state and national policy-making processes. Specifying concrete recommendations for achieving Phase III implementation is not an easy task. However, the organization, once created, will have to set itself to achieving concrete tasks. Ideally, these tasks will be guided by the need to cultivate support among key impacted stakeholders. The Authority will begin its work amid skepticism informed by its past history and current structure. Strategic changes to the JPA will help address the latter. Building an early record of success will signal that the Board has overcome some of the obstacles that plagued the organization in the past and begin to establish the level of trust that will be needed for more comprehensive solutions down the road.
Action Items and Milestones What follows is a list of action items for the Board to pursue once changes have been made to the JPA and the skeleton of an organization to support it has been created. The first five items are directed toward the broad objective of freeing up federal airport funds for use on off-site ground access projects. These action items are consistent with the recently adopted SCAG 2007 federal legislative program: “We need—Statutory and regulatory authority to provide greater flexibility to utilize the full range of airport revenues … to improve off-airport ground access.”
Items six through thirteen are
tailored to the interests that current Board members have publicly expressed and are informed by the information on sub-regional perspectives presented earlier. 1. Draft and circulate proposed legislative provisions for sponsorship and introduction by Southern California’s congressional delegation. 2. Compile a list of proposed high priority ground access improvements and candidate projects that would benefit from additional federal funding. 3. Set up high-level meetings with key members of the congressional delegation, including but not limited to Senator Barbara Boxer, member Senate Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Aviation, and Representatives Bob Filner, Michael Honda, Juanita Millender-McDonald and Ellen Tausher, members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation. 4. Secure support from state government for the legislative program, and active advocacy by the Governor’s Office in Washington, D.C. 5. Urge that the proposed legislative changes be included in the 2007 federal legislative program for Southern California regional transportation agencies, i.e., LACMTA. 6. Explore a system of tracking progress of the implementation of the MOU-based legal settlement agreement associated with the LAX Master Plan litigation and regionalization. This could be an added strategy supporting the building and expansion of a regional coalition. 7. Explore with the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) and other regional transportation agencies opportunities to collaborate on air-transit connections and linkages.
Metrolink currently provides passenger service to
selected airports in the region, e.g., Bob Hope Airport. SCRAA should support
efforts by Metrolink planners to explore other opportunities for establishing more direct airport access by expanded transit service. 8. Monitor the development of, and explore opportunities for collaboration concerning, a proposed Maglev JPA, such as with the City of Los Angeles. 9. Coordinate with LAWA on specific actions necessary to accelerate the implementation of a regional network of FlyAway terminals with the capability for remote baggage check-in. 10. Explore the development of an airport oriented “value pricing” demonstration project. The project should be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration as part of the “Value Pricing Pilot Program Participation” (Federal Register Notice, December 22, 2006). The U.S. Department of Transportation (FHWA) has invited governmental agencies to participate in a national program to implement pricing mechanisms as a means of controlling congestion.
SCRAA should explore with regional transportation agencies the sponsorship of one or more airport sites as potential candidates for value pricing. 11. Explore with Southern California airport operators the development of a joint marketing fund to advertise facilities at underutilized SCAG region airports to air passenger and cargo operators, based on the New England model. 12. Support for ground access projects seeking access to SB 1266/Proposition 1B state transportation bond funds. The recently enacted Proposition 1B earmarks a range of transportation funds for transit, highway and intermodal facility improvements.
The SCRAA should work with regional transportation agencies
to identify multi-county transportation projects which would enhance ground access at selected airports. 13. Assess the implications on proposed regional airport ground access program, of the Governor’s “Goods Movement Action Plan” (GMAP), scheduled to be transmitted to the California Transportation Commission by December 30, 2006. It is anticipated that the GMAP will include airport related goods movement projects.
SCRAA should work with the State Business, Transportation and
Housing Agency, Caltrans, and regional transportation agencies to support state funding of the identified projects. These action items are offered here as suggestions rather than prescriptions. No single action or set of actions will by itself constitute successful Phase III implementation.
What will be most crucial in sustaining the Regional Airport Authority as a vehicle for regional coordination is successful implementation of capabilities, procedures and decision-making processes that link together Southern California’s elected officials with airport operators and impacted communities, state and national policy-makers, air carriers and other groups of affected stakeholders. Sustainability is a difficult concept to measure, but the following milestones, accomplished ideally over the first three years of operation, would provide good evidence of an Authority on its way to becoming a stable and effective organization capable of playing a catalytic role in carrying out the decentralization agenda and improving regional coordination in Southern California: 1. Regular meetings of the Board with full attendance by each existing member of the Authority. 2. Regular meetings of the technical advisory committee composed of airport operators. 3. Continued interest and leadership by the City of Los Angeles, with LAWA serving as the lead agency in developing programs to encourage the location of flights at LA/Ontario and other underutilized airports. 4. Visible SCRAA role and progress in pushing through changes to state and federal regulations that limit the use of airport funds for off-site ground access projects. 5. Complementary relationship with SCAG that takes advantage of the agency’s past work on air traffic decentralization and its existing aviation and ground access planning programs. For example, SCRAA could assist SCAG’s regional aviation decentralization strategy by ranking airport ground access projects for inclusion in the Regional Transportation Plan. The Authority needs to provide input into, and have an implementation role regarding, SCAG’s 2008 RTP airport and ground access components. SCRAA could also coordinate with the proposed high-speed rail transit access JPA, and help secure financing for all airport ground access projects. 6. Growing a portfolio of SCRAA programs (e.g., joint marketing, ground access coordination) involving collaboration with Southern California’s key impacted stakeholders.
The language of the 1985 SCRAA JPA cited earlier in the Study bears repeating: “The overriding challenge facing the Southern California region continues to be a shortfall in air carrier capacity and the absence of institutions with a regional scope to address this shortfall.” If implemented, the recommendations outlined above and in other sections of the Study will establish a new institutional framework enabling regional decision makers to more effectively address this significant challenge.
Implementation of these
recommendations should be guided by two fundamental principles: (1) power-sharing— balancing of interests and decision making based on consensus and mutual trust; and (2) incrementalism—establishing an organizational record based on performance and results and justifying institutional changes on the basis of enhancing performance and effectiveness. To successfully promote air service decentralization in the SCAG region and more generally in Southern California, additional work will be needed.
One task involves
delineating and coordinating SCRAA and SCAG aviation and ground access recommendations, priorities, and planning responsibilities.
A second item concerns
evaluating and recommending changes to current federal aviation law (through the reauthorization process) that SCRAA can take a unified position on.
might involve landing fee formulas or allowing airports more flexibility in using airport revenues to support off-airport ground access projects.
For example, the National
Governors Association recently has taken a position in support of more flexible applicability of AIP funds for projects such as efficient ground access to airports. A third task involves developing financial and pricing strategies to promote decentralization. These could include lowering landing fees and other airline costs as well as subsidized marketing programs at suburban airports. Here it may prove useful to survey and evaluate the experiences of other regional airport systems employing financial incentives to encourage greater air traffic and service at secondary airports. A fourth item is to assess the possibility of implementing a mega-region approach to regional airport governance, incorporating all of Southern California’s commercial airports and transportation agencies from Santa Barbara County to San Diego County, and developing strategies for coordinating airport master planning in the Southern California mega-region. Finally, there will need to be additional follow-up studies of
institutional and managerial strategies needed to implement the 2008 Regional Transportation Plan regarding aviation and ground access plans. The challenges to effective implementation of a comprehensive decentralization agenda are daunting. Yet the opportunities and the incentives are at hand. Success can yield great benefits. Burgeoning air passenger and cargo demand can be met. There can be a more equitable distribution of regional aviation benefits and burdens. The regionâ€™s economy can remain globally competitive and quality of life issues can be addressed. The costs of failure, though, are substantial. Another SCRAA meltdown would be a formula for disaster. While contingency plans need to be developed (e.g., the Regional Airport Consortium), elected officials, airport operators and other stakeholders need to wholeheartedly and tirelessly devote themselves to making regional collaboration work this time around.
See “Deputy L.A. Mayor de la Vega Opines on So. Calif. Regional Airport Authority—A Campaign Promise,” Metro Investment Report (October 2006); and “2007 Begins With L.A. Supervisor Knabe Championing Regional Airport Authority,” Metro Investment Report (December/January 2006-07). 2 Clifton A. Moore, Oral History Interview (Center for the Study of Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University, August 16, 2001); Los Angeles Department of Airports, Study of a Proposal to Establish a Regional Airport Authority (1976); SCAG, “The Southern California Regional Airport Authority,” (n.d.), pp. 1-2; Steven P. Erie, Globalizing L.A.: Trade, Infrastructure, and Regional Development (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), pp. 104-105. The authors wish to thank Peggy Ducey, former SCRAA Chief Executive Officer, for graciously sharing SCRAA memoranda and staff reports. 3 Southern California Regional Airport Authority (SCRAA), “Original Purpose and Future Role of SCRAA,” (2001), 3 pp.; Moore, Oral History Interview; SCAG, “The Southern California Regional Airport Authority,” p. 3. 4 Interview with Peggy Ducey; SCRAA, “Original Purpose and Future Role of SCRAA”; Erie, Globalizing L.A., pp. 199-200. 5 See SCRAA, Joint Powers Agreement Creating a Regional Airport Authority to be Known as the Southern California Regional Airport Authority (1985); SCRAA, “Original Purpose and Future Role of SCRAA”. 6 SCRAA, “Original Purpose and Future Role of SCRAA”; SCAG, “The Southern California Regional Airport Authority,” pp. 4-5. 7 SCRAA, “Original Purpose and Future Role of SCRAA”; SCAG, “The Southern California Regional Airport Authority,” p 5; Orange County Regional Airport Task Force, Report (December 10, 1991), 4 pp, at p. 3. 8 Erie, Globalizing L.A., pp. 199-200. 9 SCAG, “The Southern California Regional Airport Authority,” p. 1; SCRAA, “Original Purpose and Future Role of SCRAA”. 10 SCAG, “Regional Airport Authority Strategies,” Memo (March 27, 2001), 10 pp.; SCRAA, “Regional Aviation Planning Process: Roles and Responsibilities of SCAG and the SCRAA” (2001), 3 pp.; SCRAA, “SCAG Role in Regional Aviation Planning” (2001), 2 pp. 11 Interview with Peggy Ducey. 12 Interviews with Betty Desrosiers, Massport Director of Aviation Planning, and Bryan Rakoff, FAA Branch Manager, Planning and Development, and former Project Manager, the New England Regional Aviation System Plan, for the Louis Berger Group. 13 Interview with Jim Peters, FAA Public Affairs Specialist. 14 Interviews with Betty Desrosiers and Ralph Nicosia-Rusin, FAA Airport Capacity Program Manager. 15 Interview with Betty Desrosiers. 16 Interviews with Ralph Nicosia-Rusin and Betty Desrosiers. 17 Interviews with Jim Peters and Ralph Nicosia-Rusin. See the New England Airport Coalition, The New England Regional Airport System Plan (Fall 2006), 57 pp. 18 FAA and Massport, “FAA, New England Airports to Update Regional Aviation Plan,” Press Release, September 20, 2002. The Louis Berger Group, Inc. is the consultant, project manager, and webmaster for the New England Regional Aviation System Plan. Source: www.nerasp.com. Also see the New England Airport Coalition, The New England Regional Airport System Plan. 19 Interview with Betty Desrosiers. 20 Philippe A. Bonnefoy and R. John Hansman, Emergence and Impact of Secondary Airports in the United States (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2004), pp. 4-5; Lisa Arsenault, “Regional Airport Growth is Stalling,” The Concord (NH) Monitor, December 24, 2006.
Indeed, Massport implies its strategic marketing and encouragement of regional airport expansion drove decentralized air traffic and service patterns. “Substantial capital investments and marketing initiatives have resulted in increased passenger acceptance and use of regional airport alternative to Logan Airport… Massport’s 1999 Passenger Survey confirms that aggressive service expansion at other regional airports in New England, particularly Manchester NH, and T.F. Green in Providence RI, is diverting passengers from those areas outside of Metropolitan Boston away from Logan Airport.” Boston-Logan International Airport, 1999 ESPR, p. ES-12. 22 Byron Okada, “Fort Worth, Texas, Dallas Competition Spurred Long-Running Aviation Rivalry,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, December 17, 2003. 23 “Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport,” Handbook of Texas Online, May 2004; Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, 1997 Airport Development Plan Update (1997); Terri Langford, “Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Adding Board Position to Represent Local Residents,” Dallas Morning News, July 18, 2001; Terri Langford, “Surrounding Cities Seek More Input on Dallas/Fort Worth Airport’s Activities,” Dallas Morning News, February 24, 2001. 24 “Airport Official Says Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport Needs Expansion Despite Economy,” Dallas Morning News, August 19, 2002. 25 Dianne Solis, “Dallas Airport Board Down a Member with Billions in Spending Due,” Dallas Morning News, September 18, 2004. 26 DFW has studied this issue and concluded the restrictions would adversely affect DFW and the economic activities that occur around the airport, and generate more traffic and noise around Love Field. See the presentation prepared by Simat, Helliesen and Eichner, Inc., “Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: Potential Airport Impacts – Repeal of Wright Amendment,” May 2005. 27 This is especially the case when the reelection prospects of the representative depend on satisfying a far narrower constituency than the city- or county-wide population he/she represents within SCRAA. 28 See, for example, the December 20, 2006 letter expressing concerns from Bill Campbell, Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, to Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles, and Don Knabe, Supervisor, Fourth District, County of Los Angeles. 29 See “San Diego Rejects Proposal for New Airport, Faces Few Options to Ease Burden on Lindbergh,” Metro Investment Report (December/January 2006-07).
APPENDIX I REGIONAL AIRPORT MANAGEMENT IMPLEMENTATION STUDY STAKEHOLDER SURVEY A (Airport Operators, Transportation Providers, Public Officials, Policy Experts) You are being contacted as part of a Regional Airport Management Implementation Study being conducted by Professor Steven Erie of UC San Diego and Norman Emerson of Emerson & Associates for the Southern California Association Governments. We are surveying major stakeholders and policy experts to determine their views on the most appropriate forms of regional airport governance for the SCAG Region and how to successfully implement them. This is important for setting SCAG policy, and for coordinating with the region’s airports such as L.A. World Airports. We appreciate your help. This survey is designed to be completed within a half an hour or so. Your answers will be treated with the strictest confidentiality. 1. I would like to start by asking you about recent plans to reconstitute the Southern California Regional Airport Authority. The City of Los Angeles has appointed a new representative, providing a needed quorum. And Riverside County is considering rejoining. How are these developments viewed by … (name of organization)? 2. Some changes to SCRAA’s powers – which currently include the ability to plan and operate new airports, raise money by selling revenue bonds and the power of eminent domain – will probably be necessary to avoid the conflicts that doomed its efforts the first time around. What changes would you like to see implemented, if any? 3. Before SCRAA became dormant in 2004, its focus began to shift from planning and operating new airports to planning and coordinating new ground access projects. Was this change a positive development? Should SCRAA’s primary focus be on airport capacity, ground access issues, both or something else? 4. Given your views on SCRAA’s powers and focus, what do you think about the current scheme of representation – SCRAA’s board consists of one representative from the City of L.A. and one representative each for L.A., Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties? Should the 10 main airport operators in the region be represented? How about ground access transportation providers like MTA and the county transportation commissions? [If time, probe for thoughts about what these organizations might contribute.]
5. Do you think … (name of organization) … would be interested in joining SCRAA? Under what conditions? [If time, probe for ideas about what, specifically, SCRAA could do for … (name of organization) … .] I’d like to shift gears here and ask you about the Regional Airport Consortium proposed by SCAG and others as a vehicle for coordinating airport and ground access planning in Southern California. 6. Right now, the consortium concept is pretty vague on what issues or activities the organization should focus on. Its only mandate is to promote coordination among existing airport operators to divert air passenger traffic to facilities that have greater capacity to handle it. From your perspective, are there one or two issues or activities that such a consortium should address? 7. If the consortium concept is implemented, it will be necessary to provide a governing structure to organize its work. Two alternatives have been suggested. The first is a joint-powers agreement or JPA, which would invest the consortium with formal powers agreed to by its founding members. The second is a memorandum of understanding or MOU. This would provide few formal powers and allow members to select the activities they wish to participate in. What do you think about these alternatives? 8. Given your views about the issues that need to be addressed and proper structure of the consortium, who do you think should be invited to join? Should organizations other than the 10 main airport operators in the region be represented? How about ground access transportation agencies like MTA and the county transportation commissions? What role, if any, should federal (FAA) and state (Caltrans) governments play? [If time, probe for thoughts about what these organizations might contribute.] 9. Do you think … (name of organization) … would be interested in joining the Regional Airport Consortium? Under what conditions? [If time, probe for ideas about what, specifically, the consortium could do for … (name of organization). 10. The consortium concept will probably fail if it cannot get most or all organizations responsible for airport and ground access planning and operation to participate actively. What specific inducements, activities or implementation strategies do you think would be useful to get organizations like … (name of organization) … to the table? 11. What has been your agency’s experience with SCAG on aviation-related issues? If a Regional Airport Consortium were created, who should do regional aviation system planning—SCAG or the new entity?
12. Finally, if you have any other thoughts about SCRAA or an Airport Consortium, I would very much like to hear them now. [If not, say: Well, if you think of anything else in the next couple of days or weeks, I would appreciate it if you could send them to me in an e-mail or give me a call. My contact information is â€Śâ€Ś] Thank you again for taking the time to speak to me. We will let you know when the study will be released.
REGIONAL AIRPORT MANAGEMENT IMPLEMENTATION STUDY STAKEHOLDER SURVEY B (Airport Marketing, Air Carrier Personnel, Consultants) You are being contacted as part of a Regional Airport Management Implementation Study being conducted by Professor Steven Erie of UC San Diego and Norman Emerson of Emerson & Associates for the Southern California Association of Governments. We are surveying major stakeholders and policy experts to determine their views on the most appropriate forms of regional airport governance for the SCAG Region and how to successfully implement them. This is important for setting SCAG policy, and for coordinating with the regionâ€™s airports such as L.A. World Airports. We appreciate your help. This survey is designed to be completed within a half an hour or so. Your answers will be treated with the strictest confidentiality. 1. I would like to start by asking you about recent moves to reconstitute the Southern California Regional Airport Authority. In general what do you think about the idea of a Regional Airport Consortium / Authority that coordinates airports? What benefits or costs do you see for airlines? Would airlines be willing to actively participate on such a body? Should they? 2. In general, what do you see as the main requirements and impediments to expanding / initiating service at suburban airports like Ontario, San Bernardino and Palmdale? 3. There have been anecdotal reports that it is more difficult and expensive to expand / initiate service at Ontario especially for new carriers. Is that true? If so why is that true? 4. What would make Ontario a more desirable place for airlines to expand / initiate service? What kind of financial incentives and other inducements do you think would help accomplish this? 5. Would an organization like yours be willing to share facilities and staff at common-use facilities including terminal gates and ticketing counters at Ontario and other emerging airports? 6. What do you think about a regional marketing program conducted by a regional consortium / authority to raise consumer awareness of airline services provided at lesser-known airports such as Ontario? Is this needed in the age of the internet? 7. What do you think about the idea of handling initial passenger processing (i.e., baggage check-in, ticketing and initial screening) at off-airport facilities such as flyaways (like the Van Nuys FlyAway)?
8. What do you think about airport passenger fees and FAA grants being used to support off-airport ground access facilities that are substantially related to air passenger access, on a proportional basis? 9. What do you think about a regional Maglev system that would connect airports in Southern California? What would it take to facilitate passenger connections between airports using Maglev (such as between Ontario and San Bernardino) in the future? 10. What do you think about basing landing fees at least in part on air and noise emissions instead of just landed aircraft weight? 11. What other measures can be taken by airports to incentivize airlines to employ cleaner and quieter aircraft or aircraft engines at airports in Southern California? 12. Finally, if you have any other thoughts about the Southern California Regional Airport Authority or an Airport Consortium, I would very much like to hear them now. [If not, say: Well, if you think of anything else in the next couple of days or weeks, I would appreciate it if you could send them to me in an e-mail or give me a call. My contact information is â€Ś .] Thank you again for taking the time to speak to me. We will let you know when the study will be released.
APPENDIX II STAKEHOLDERS INTERVIEWED: LIST OF ORGANIZATIONS AND RESPONDENTS Organization
Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA)
Jim Ritchie Deputy Executive Director, Planning & Development Group Phil Depoian Deputy Executive Director External and Government Relations
Los Angeles Mayorâ€™s Office
Mark Thorpe Director of Air Services Marketing Jaime de la Vega Deputy Mayor, Transportation Jim Bickhart Associate Director, Transportation
Long Beach Airport
Chris Kunze Airport Manager
Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority (Bob Hope Airport)
Dan Feger Deputy Director Mark D. Hardyment Director, Noise and Environmental Programs
John Wayne Airport
Alan L. Murphy Airport Director
March Joint Powers Authority
Philip A. Rizzo Executive Director Gary Gosliga Airport Director
San Bernardino International Airport Authority (SBIAA)
Mike Burrows Assistant Director Eric Ray Airport Operations Manager Penny Chua Director of Economic Development and Marketing
Southern California Logistics Airport
Peter Soderquist Airport Director
Palm Springs International Airport
Richard S. Walsh Director of Aviation
County of San Bernardino Department of Airports
Bill Ingraham, AAE Director
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Roger Snoble Chief Executive Officer
Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA)
Barry Engelberg Special Projects Manager
San Bernardino County Association of Governments (SanBAG)
Ty Schuiling Director of Planning and Programming
Southern California Regional Rail Authority
Steve Lantz Director of Communications and Development
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Dick Dykas Capacity Specialist Western-Pacific Airports Division, Los Angeles ADO
Mary Frederick Director, Division of Aeronautics
LAX Airlines Airport Affairs Committee
Dennis Olson Chair Kelley Brown Member
Former SCRAA official
Peggy Ducey former Executive Director
Former SCRAA board member
Jon Mikels former San Bernardino County Supervisor
Former SCRAA board member
Chuck Smith former Orange County Supervisor
Former SCRAA board member
July Mikels Former SCAG ex-officio board member,
Ventura County Supervisor Former/current SCRAA board member
Don Knabe Los Angeles County Supervisor, 4th District
SCRAA board member
Bill Rosendahl Los Angeles City Councilman, 11th District
Jock Oâ€™Connell Principal, The ClarkStreet Group
Keith Mew Associate Professor Department of Technology Cal State University, Los Angeles
APPENDIX III: SCRAA GOVERNANCE OPTIONS A. PROPOSED REVISION SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA REGIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY BOARD MEETING, JANUARY 11, 2007 AGENDA ITEM #5A PROPOSED REVISION OF THE SCRAA JOINT POWERS AGREEMENT This memorandum highlights key provisions of the Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) that the Southern California Regional Airport Authority (SCRAA) Board of Directors (Board) may wish to review and possibly revise. Because of the complexity and length of the current JPA, staff has not attempted to submit a proposed revision of the JPA to the Board at the January 11, 2007 meeting. Instead, staff believed it would be more efficient to seek direction from the Board by first preparing this issues memorandum for Board consideration. Staff anticipates that (if requested by the Board) it will subsequently prepare a draft revision of the JPA consistent with Board direction that is received at the January 11, 2007 meeting. The draft revision of the JPA then could be considered by the Board for possible adoption at a subsequent SCRAA meeting. 1.
FUNDAMENTAL GOVERNANCE ISSUES
PURPOSES AND POWERS
As currently written, SCRAA’s JPA provides broad purposes and powers that would allow SCRAA to finance, acquire, construct, operate, and manage Southern California airports. (See JPA “Whereas” clauses and §1 for SCRAA “purposes” and §5 for SCRAA “powers”.) Although SCRAA never sought to exercise these broad powers, they remain controversial and potentially divisive. Staff recommends that the Board consider deletion of these broad powers and instead limit SCRAA’s powers to planning for, the marketing of and regionalization of Southern California air commerce. The following purposes and powers are recommended for discussion: Purposes (Proposed) SCRAA shall: •
seek to encourage cooperation and coordination among the Southern California region’s local governments, airport operators, ground transportation agencies, the Southern California Association of Governments and other transportation planning agencies;
function as an information clearinghouse for regional commercial airport operators;
develop and adopt a vision for aviation in Southern California and develop a regional aviation plan on a five year basis;
function as an advocate for federal, state and local legislative changes to promote and support regionalization for air traffic operations (passenger and cargo) and ground transportation;
conduct joint planning and joint marketing efforts to promote regional air traffic;
formulate ideas/strategies to promote regional dispersion of air traffic, both passenger and cargo;
promote regionalization of air traffic among Southern California airports;
promote the improvement of on- and off-site ground access facilities that link to the regional transportation system;
document and monitor airport planning in Southern California; and submit joint applications with member jurisdictions for state and federal grants for ground transportation projects and/or airport related projects, including safety
Powers (Proposed) Current SCRAA powers are listed in §5 of the JPA. Powers recommended for deletion include: •
acquiring and operating airports and airport facilities (subsections (a), (d)(1), (d)(13) and (d)(15))
issuance of revenue bonds (subsections (c) and (d)(9))
the power to grant franchises and leases for airport facilities (subsection (d)(10))
establishment of rules governing use of airport facilities (subsection (d)(11))
eminent domain power (subsection (d)(14))
acquisition of parking facilities, roads, etc. (subsection (d)(16)) 83
owning and operating aircraft (subsection (d)(18))
Current SCRAA powers are listed in §5 of the JPA. Necessary powers recommended for retention include:
lease office space
hire employees including legal counsel
sue and be sued
prepare plans and reports, including regional aviation plan
apply for state and federal grants
act to promote commerce and tourism
establish a treasury
adopt a budget MEMBERSHIP & GOVERNANCE
This section provides options for expanding Board membership, retention of existing structure, creating new standing committees, defining categories for the standing committee members and expanding the non-voting Board representation. Current SCRAA Board membership consists of one member for each of the member counties: County of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange; one member from the City of Los Angeles, and one non-voting member of the Southern California Association of Governments. All voting Board members are required to be elected officials. (See JPA §6) There is an alternate position for each elected position from each jurisdiction. An invitation has been extended to Ventura, San Diego and Imperial Counties to join as voting Board members with an alternate. The First Amendment to the JPA added §6(b)(3) creating associate, non-voting membership by local government entities located within the noise impact area of all airports. However, the role of associate members was undefined. The addition of new Board members was discussed at the October 12, 2006 SCRAA meeting. The existing Board members charged staff with preparing recommendations on how to amend the JPA. The following options for increasing Board and SCRAA membership could be adopted separately or combined. 84
Option I •
Add one additional voting Board member (and alternate) from each current county and from the City of Los Angeles. As one example, the additional voting member could represent airport management or an airport community within the respective jurisdiction.
Option II (could be done in addition to Option I) •
Retain current voting Board membership with member counties and the City of Los Angeles as the Executive Committee while creating various SCRAA standing committees where committee members would have voting rights only within their respective standing committee to make recommendations to the Board; ¾ Create standing committees to include air operations, ground transportation, local municipalities/government entities and various committees of technical experts ¾ Standing committee members, as approved by the Board, could include: Associate Members (expanded definition) to include:
airport management official airport sponsors/owners (cities, joint power authorities and/or counties)
municipalities who are host cities to airports
municipalities impacted by airport operations within the noise contours of a commercial airport municipalities expressing an interest in aviation
Technical Advisors/Experts (Voting/Non-voting?)
Federal Aviation Administration transportation planning agencies (i.e. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, California High Speed Rail Authority)
air cargo representatives
Option III (Non-voting Board Members) SCAG is currently the only non-voting member on the Board. Non-voting members could be expanded by one or more of the following: •
FAA, Regional Director or his designee
Representative from the airlines association(s) with international and domestic operations
If San Diego County joins as a voting member, then SANDAG should be invited
Option IV Add one additional voting Board member (and alternate) from each municipality or other local government entity that owns, operates or hosts a commercial airport in Southern California. This Option would allow the following to be voting Board Members of SCRAA: •
All Counties and Cities that operate commercial airports in the Southern California Region.
All Counties and Cities that host but do not operate a commercial airport in the Southern California Region.
All Counties and Cities that own commercial airports within the Southern California Region.
All JPA’s or similar type agencies (e.g. MOU type) that operate commercial airports in the Southern California Region
(The addition of any “separate political entities” is currently permitted by §3(g) of the JPA, upon unanimous consent of the voting Board members and consent of the governing body of the joining political entity) C.
REAFFIRMATION OF THE ABILITY OF EACH AIRPORT OPERATOR TO FREELY MANAGE ITS OWN AIRPORT
The current JPA, at §18, states that the JPA will not affect the rights of SCRAA members to operate their respective airports. Staff recommends that this provision be expanded and clarified to make it clear that SCRAA does not intend to acquire any airport of either a member or a non-member, and that the rights of airport operators, including but not limited to the rights of charter cities that operate airports, shall not be affected by SCRAA without their consent.
A current JPA provision, §5(f), provides for a veto power over SCRAA’s acquisition of an airport that a SCRAA member owns, operates or controls (this provision is proposed for deletion because SCRAA will no longer have this power to acquire airports). If, under an amended JPA, adoption of SCRAA’s aviation plan or other major SCRAA planning actions will not require a unanimous vote (see Board Voting Requirements, below), then a similar provision could be added allowing an airport operator to veto an aviation plan or other planning action that it believes adversely affects its own airport. 2.
OTHER JPA ISSUES
AMOUNT OF MEMBER DUES
The JPA currently provides that voting members pay an annual contribution of $20,000 (see §9(a)) and associate members pay an annual contribution of $500 (see §6(b)(3) added by First Amendment to JPA). These figures were established in 1985 and 1988, respectively, and may need to be adjusted for inflation and also to reflect changes in SCRAA’s mission. If a committee structure is implemented, contribution requirements could also be established for participation in a committee. Finally, the current JPA (see §9(a), 2nd ¶) provides that unanimous consent is required to continue collecting the $20,000 voting member contribution beyond the first five years of the JPA, which has now occurred. These provisions of the JPA may require revision. Recommend The Board increase dues as follows: •
Voting Board members annual dues are raised from $20,000 to $_____
Non-voting Board members annual dues are not required
Associate members annual dues are raised from $500 to $_____
Technical Advisors/Experts such as the FAA, MTA – Annual dues are not required
Dues are recommended to increase every year or every two years based on CPI index by a vote of the majority of the voting members. B.
BOARD VOTING REQUIREMENTS
A Board quorum is defined as a majority of voting members (§6(d)). The current JPA provides that certain actions of the Board must be taken by unanimous vote: •
act to terminate SCRAA (§3(e));
amend the JPA (§3(e));
add new voting Board members (§3(g));
Other actions of the Board (including adding associate members (§6(b)(3)), require a majority vote of the total membership (with the exception of adjournment which only requires a majority of members present (§6(d)) Recommend The Board may wish to reconsider and refine these requirements. Options to consider: •
Action to add new voting Board members ¾
super-majority vote (2/3 or 60%, of all members/ members present?)
majority vote (of all members/ members present?)
unanimous vote of all voting Board members - current JPA provision
Action to add non-voting Board members/Associate members ¾ ¾ ¾
super-majority vote (2/3 or 60%, of all members/ members present?) majority vote (of all members/ members present?) - current JPA provision for Associate members unanimous vote of all voting Board members
Adoption of the regional aviation plan or other major SCRAA planning actions ¾
super-majority vote (2/3 or 60%, of all members/ members present?)
majority vote (of all members/ members present?)
unanimous vote of all voting Board members
Action on all other matters of the Board such as hiring of staff, contracts, application for grants, etc. ¾
majority of the members present
by a majority of all members – current JPA provision
The current JPA anticipates two phases of the SCRAA. The first phase is a “feasibility, investigation, and study period.” (See §5(e).) This first phase would end automatically if SCRAA issued any bonded indebtedness, began to acquire or construct aviation facilities, or entered grant agreements or other contracts that prevented unilateral withdrawal from SCRAA. (See §3(h), 2nd ¶.) We understand that none of these events have occurred and that SCRAA remains in the first “study period” phase. The second phase was to be the operational period, where SCRAA actually took over operation of airports and other aviation facilities. (See §3(h).) Recommend Staff recommends that the Board direct redrafting of the JPA to delete all references to the first and second phases of SCRAA, recognizing that SCRAA will permanently remain a regional aviation planning and promotional agency and is recommended to not become an operational agency. D.
WITHDRAWAL OF SCRAA MEMBERS
During this ongoing first phase “feasibility, investigation, and study period” any SCRAA member can withdraw unilaterally upon giving 60 days prior notice (see §3(h)). If the second “operational” phase had occurred, SCRAA members would not have been allowed to withdraw unless they obtained unanimous consent of all members (see §3(f)). There is potential negative impact of withdrawal upon long-term planning efforts on SCRAA and therefore a longer notice for submitting the withdrawal is proposed. Recommend That the Board extend the written withdrawal notice required for unilateral withdrawal by a voting member:
180 days or
one year RALPH M. BROWN ACT
The JPA requires that Board meetings comply with the open meeting requirements of the Ralph M. Brown Act. Staff recommends that this requirement be extended to all meetings of standing and technical committees or other advisory bodies that may be created by the Board.
B. COMMENTS ON PROPOSED REVISION To facilitate the process of revising the SCRAA JPA, the project team offers the following comments on the proposed revision and governance options and staff recommendations presented at the Authority’s January 11, 2007 Board meeting. These comments solely represent the views of the project team and not the Southern California Association of Governments or other stakeholders. In the view of the project team, there is one fundamental assumption in the proposed revision seemingly at odds with the tenor of our report—that maintaining a JPA framework is preferable to an MOU approach.
This core assumption ought to be
debated. While there appears to be building momentum for revising the SCRAA JPA, an organization featuring an incremental and “structured” MOU approach may be equally or even more effective than a JPA in allaying member fears and concerns (e.g., those of Orange and Riverside Counties) and thus build needed trust and institutional support. If the JPA framework is deemed the desired approach, the governance options and staff recommendations in the proposed revision are very much in the spirit of our report. The proposed revision encourages SCRAA to get out of the business of developing and operating airports in favor of undertaking activities such as planning and marketing that are appropriate for a consensus-building and power-sharing organization.
with this report’s recommendations, the proposed revision endorses expanding membership to San Diego, Ventura and Imperial counties. This is an example of the more inclusive approach that SCRAA Board member Bill Rosendahl outlined at the January SCRAA meeting. Given the JPA approach, the project team believes the proposed revision is heading in the right direction.
Our specific comments on particular provisions are offered in the
spirit of clarifying important governance issues and assisting SCRAA in choosing and implementing the most appropriate and effective approaches.
Purposes and Powers The project team recommends that SCRAA’s purposes be conceived of in terms of broad objectives rather than specific sets of activities. This approach makes it easier to
build momentum, promote consensus and coordination, and establish a track record. These broad objectives should include (1) encouraging cooperation and coordination; (2) functioning as an information clearinghouse; (3) serving as an advocate; (4) formulating ideas/strategies for regional dispersion of air passenger and cargo traffic; and (5) conducting joint planning and marketing to promote regional dispersion. With regard to regional aviation planning, the relative responsibilities and roles of SCRAA and SCAG need to clarified. In terms of powers, the project team concurs with the recommended deletion of proprietary powers. In terms of retained powers, the project team generally concurs with the recommendations. However, consistent with an incremental approach and building consensus, we believe that the powers to (1) prepare aviation plans (which SCAG and airport operators currently do) and (2) apply for state and federal grants may be premature.
Membership and Governance The project team supports the invitation to Ventura, San Diego, and Imperial Counties to join as voting Board members. We believe that Option II, with the current and invited voting Board membership, and more inclusive (non-voting) standing committees representing a broad range of stakeholders from airport communities to air carriers, is preferable to Options I and IV, which potentially expand the number of voting members representing airport communities. Impacted airport communities are represented on the current Board. In designing an appropriate system of representation and considering adding additional voting members, a key component of the power-sharing approach is including a diverse array of stakeholders. For example, the influence of impacted airport communities needs to be balanced with the interests of other affected stakeholders such as the traveling public, air carriers, and the business community. The project team supports Option III regarding a limited expansion of non-voting Board members, particularly for the FAA Regional Director and SANDAG (if San Diego County joins).
We support the reaffirmation of the ability of each airport operator to freely
manage its own airport.
Board Voting Requirements There is no a priori best voting scheme. It makes sense to first determine SCRAAâ€™s purposes and powers as well as the size and composition of the Board. Then the stage is set for creating appropriate voting rules. In terms of voting options, the project team sees little reason to incentivize absentee-ism. In other words, set a quorum for decisionmaking and then let members who show up make decisions.
Given that SCRAAâ€™s
proprietary powers likely will be deleted, there is less need for a unanimity voting rule. Unanimity introduces poor incentives and encourages delay. For most Board decision making, a majority vote should suffice. The possible exceptions to majority voting could be in accepting new voting members or amending the JPA.