Gold Line extension proposal would boost Ontario Airport

first_imgIn what would be a a multibillion-dollar plan to ease congestion at Los Angeles International Airport, city officials on Tuesday proposed extending the Gold Line light-rail system to provide direct service to Ontario Airport. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, joined by officials from San Bernardino County and Ontario, said he will urge the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and federal officials to consider funding the line’s extension from Azusa to the airport to help increase passenger access to the facility. “Right now, Ontario has 7.9 million passengers a year,” Villaraigosa said at a City Hall news conference. “We hope to see it grow to 30 million a year to take some of the traffic from LAX. “Anyone who has been on the 405 Freeway today can tell you that LAX is already at the tipping point,” Villaraigosa said. That cost could more than double if the line were extended to Ontario, officials estimate. Littman said Metro has already identified some $50 billion in transit improvements needed for the region, but has only about $4 billion in funds. “If it was to be extended, we would need to find some other sources of revenue,” Littman said. The city of Los Angeles owns and operates the Ontario facility, and Ontario officials have supported its expansion. Villaraigosa said the Union Station FlyAway to Ontario Airport already carries 600,000 passengers a year. Part of the plan is to try to persuade the airlines to move more of their service to Ontario from LAX. Villaraigosa said city officials hope to raise maintenance and landing fees at LAX as an incentive for the airlines to move east. [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “There is no question that regionalization has to be the answer for Los Angeles and surrounding areas. … “We have to find a way to take passengers from LAX, … and Ontario has to be a major source of the air traffic from Southern California.” But Ontario Mayor Paul Leon said the plan will have to be accompanied by ways to deal with traffic. “If we don’t plan ahead, we will end up with the same problems that exist around LAX,” Leon said. Leon and San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt pledged to work with Villaraigosa to lobby for federal funds to help Metro finance a Gold Line extension. Metro spokesman Mark Littman said current plans for the Gold Line call for extending it by 22 miles to Azusa from Sierra Madre at an estimated price tag of $1.7 billion. last_img read more