U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review of Challenge to St. Louis Airport Expansion

JANUARY 16, 2001

The Supreme Court Tuesday dealt a blow to opponents of the expansion of Lambert Field. The court declined a request by Bridgeton critics of the expansion that justices hear a lower court ruling that had gone for the Federal Aviation Administration and against the airport foes.

In the case of Bridgeton, Mo. v. the Federal Aviation Administration, the Supreme Court simply decided, "Review denied."

In the original ruling that was brought for consideration to the Supreme Court, the appeals court had decided that the FAA did not act arbitrarily in approving federal funding for the airport expansion project.

A Supreme Court spokeswoman said that the court was divided Tuesday, but she said she had no further information.

Washington-based attorneys for the city of Bridgeton as well as attorneys for the Justice Department, who argued on behalf of the FAA, declined comment on the ruling. The case had been filed in September.

Bridgeton Mayor Conrad Bowers, who'd said in September that his city would take its legal challenge of the Lambert Field expansion plan to the Supreme Court, was unavailable for comment on Tuesday.

The city contends that the FAA failed to properly analyze the so-called W-1W expansion project before issuing a favorable record of decision in September 1998. But the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed in April, by a 2-1 vote upholding the FAA's review of the project. One justice sided with the plaintiffs, which included Bridgeton, St. Charles, and St. Charles County.

The expansion plan would displace 2,000 families in Bridgeton. Backers of the plan say a new runway is needed to reduce flight delays. The $2.6 billion project would add a new parallel runway, make numerous improvements to the airfield and change the configuration of several major airport-area streets.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch