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LOS ANGELES-Mayor James K. Hahn this morning essentially stopped the $12-billion expansion of LA International Airport dead in its tracks, saying that the city’s efforts and resources should instead be focused on bolstering security at the West’s busiest airport.

Rather than sticking to plans to build new parking garages inside the airport itself, Hahn said at a press conference that he will ask airport officials to instead consider erecting more off-site parking complexes. The off-site structures would include security stations where passengers could check bags before boarding a shuttle or perhaps even a rail system that could be built to transport flyers to the airport itself.

Hahn’s proposal also would eliminate a long-planned new terminal at the airport, as well as the planned addition of 42 gates to handle more flights. The terminal and gates were cornerstones of the growth plan promoted by Hahn’s predecessor, Richard Riordan, who was forced to leave office earlier this year by term limits.

About 67 million passengers a year move through LAX. Riordan’s ambitious growth plans for the facility were aimed at handling the projected 89 million passengers who are expected to pass through the airport annually by 2015.

Hahn’s new proposal would accommodate only 78 million annual passengers. Though it would fall short of future needs, the scaled-down plans have a better chance of getting the support of airport-area residents who opposed Riordan’s more aggressive expansion proposal.

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