Sacramento Forges Ahead with Airport Expansion

Airport expansions are necessary and almost always raise neighborhood hackles. It must be tough being an airport administrator and having to feel heat for a mere mention of more runways, more parking spaces and expanded service. It seems like the people who want better service are never the people who live next door to the airport. And if it isn’t the people, it’s the birds who need to be considered.

In Sacramento, the Board of Supervisors have endorsed a plan for a $1 billion expansion of their International airport. A major new terminal and a new parking lot will be part of the project.

The Sacbee had this report: “Airport officials cleared another potential stumbling block in reaching an agreement with environmentalists to permanently set aside 1 acre of new hawk foraging habitat for every acre of hawk habitat destroyed by the expansion.

Initially, airport officials expected to set aside land at a 3/4-acre to 1-acre ratio. Jim Pachl and Jude Lamare, both of Friends of the Swainson’s Hawk, balked, citing county codes requiring one-to-one habitat replacement.

“We showed them they were wrong,” Pachl said.

County officials also must receive federal environmental clearances, which they hope to get by the end of the year. The airport, which hit the million-flier mark for the first time in June, is planning the biggest overhaul and expansion in its history.