Plan to ease congestion at LAX wins council support

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LOS ANGELES >> A comprehensive $5.5 billion plan aimed at reducing auto traffic and congestion at Los Angeles International Airport was approved Tuesday by the City Council.

The centerpiece of the plan is a Consolidated Rent-A-Car Center that would bring together more than 20 car rental offices and feature a 2.25-mile Automated People Mover to eliminate the need for rental car courtesy vehicles to enter the central terminal area and reduce the number of autos driving in and out of LAX by 3,200 each day.

The plan — called the Landside Access Modernization Program — also includes roadway improvements to increase vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian access at LAX, the second busiest airport in the United States.

The council unanimously voted to approve the final environmental impact report on the LAMP project.

“This historic investment in LAX is about more than building a world-class airport — it’s about the future we are building for Los Angeles,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

The plan would create two new intermodal transportation facilities, which would have public parking and passenger drop-off and pick-up areas. To provide access to the Metro system, a People Mover station would be incorporated at one of the transportation facilities, where it would interface with Metro’s Airport Metro Connector station at 96th Street/Aviation Boulevard.

“Improving options for people to get to the airport will help make LAX the world-class airport and first-class neighbor that Los Angeles deserves,” said City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents LAX and surrounding communities.

“By connecting LAX with Metro rail, improving how travelers can access rental cars and reducing congestion in the Central Terminal Area, we are taking cars off the roads of Westchester and Playa del Rey, we are taking pollution from those cars out of the air and we are improving convenience for the millions of people who rely on LAX,” he said.

The next step in the process for the plan is National Environmental Policy Act approval.

It’s been a busy few months at LAX. As major airlines have bounced back from the depths of the recession and improved their balance sheets, they are sinking millions of dollars back into creating a more appealing experience for customers and investing back in their workers.

Among the recent activity:

• American Airlines this week announced a $1.6 billion investment to upgrade its two southern terminals at Los Angeles International Airport over seven to 10 years.

• Delta Air Lines last month moved its two terminals to the north side as part of an overhaul that will take seven years and cost up to $1.9 billion.

• United Airlines said it will invest $573 million to renovate Terminals 7 and 8, set to be completed next year.

City News Service and staff writer Rachel Uranga contributed to this report.



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