A new main terminal at National Airport would be closer to the Metro station under preliminary plans being considered by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, a board member said yesterday.

Renovation plans developed by board members and a design firm call for the terminal to be built on the site of the existing north terminal, and to be connected to the subway station by a pedestrian walkway over a new two-level roadway.

The entrance to the new building would lie just 192 feet from the Metro station.

Four lanes of traffic and 430 feet now separate the station from the north terminal. The station is about three-quarters of a mile from the old main terminal, which houses the ticketing and gate operations of most airlines at the airport.

The old main terminal, which opened in 1941, would be refurbished. The north terminal, which is used by two airlines, would be demolished.

"This is exactly what we need to do," board Chairman Linwood Holton Jr. said during a meeting yesterday. Holton has long complained of the distance separating the Metro station from the terminal used by most passengers.

The preliminary plans could change in many ways before the board adopts a formal master plan for the airport's $280 million rehabilitation.

A proposed master plan for Dulles International Airport's $420 million renovation and expansion has been altered to include moving sidewalks along the center sections of the 1,600-foot-long midfield terminals, said Carrington Williams, chairman of the board's Planning Committee.

If the plan is adopted, an underground train will carry travelers from the main terminal to entrances placed at the midpoint of each midfield terminal. Board members had expressed concerns about the 800-foot distance from the entrances to the farthest gates, particularly for the elderly and passengers carrying children and baggage.

In a separate action, the board appointed four senators to the nine-member congressional review board that must approve the airports authority's major actions.

The board members appointed the only nominees submitted by the Senate's president pro tem -- Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), Nancy L. Kassebaum (R-Kan.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.) -- to staggered terms ranging from two to six years.

Hollings was one of the most vocal congressional opponents of the legislation that allowed federally owned National and Dulles to be leased and operated by a local authority.