The Federal Aviation Administration Friday approved Mayor James Hahn's entire $11 billion overhaul of Los Angeles International Airport, complicating Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa's intention to scrap major portions of the plan.


In its 58-page Record of Decision, the FAA said that the improvements in Hahn's plan "will strengthen LAX as a commercial international gateway and improve safety at the airport."


Hahn's plan includes realigning of the runways, demolishing the north side terminals and building a controversial ground transportation center 1.5 miles to the east in Manchester Square.


Now that Hahn's plan has become the record of decision for the FAA, any changes to the plan could not occur unless agency officials were convinced that they would be beneficial.


Last December, the L.A. City Council approved a compromise proposal brokered by Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski that set aside for future consideration several controversial aspects of the plan, including the demolition of the terminals and the construction of the Manchester Square center. Villaraigosa voted against the Hahn-Miscikowski proposal.


Shortly afterward, Los Angeles County, Inglewood and Culver City filed suit against the plan, citing negative noise, traffic and safety impacts. That suit is still pending in Los Angeles Superior Court.


The FAA decision would not require the city to scrap the compromise and move forward with all parts of the plan at once, but it would make it harder for critics to later not proceed with the terminal demolitions and the Manchester Square construction.

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