It was news earlier this week when LAX airport director Gina Marie Lindsey said airlines might push back against two ambitious ground transportation projects important to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city and counter officials.
The comments, which you can read here, were a somewhat rare expression of honesty by a public official. Lindsey said airlines — her tenants — don’t necessary want an Automated People Mover or a Ground Transportation Center, mainly because they’ll have to pay for them, either directly or indirectly. Our friends at CurbedLA picked up on this, and the commenters have been pretty harsh to Lindsey.
But L.A. councilman Mike Bonin, whose district includes the airport, told me what Lindsey said isn’t really a big deal. Whether airlines want it or or not, he suggested, the city will build what it needs.
“It’s hardly a revelation that the airlines have little interest in growing transportation,” Bonin said. “All they care about is that you are at the airport. They don’t care if it took you three or four hours to get there. Our commitment as owners and operators of the airport requires us to be competitive for the customer experience. Traditionally, it’s an area where LAX has fallen down.”
Any plan to provide seamless rail connections to LAX is probably a decade away. But it has become a hot topic recently in L.A., as planners are deciding how best to connect the airport to two rail lines — the Green Line and the LAX/Crenshaw Line. (Read more about the saga of deciding which plan is best — including the disagreement over whether to explore tunneling under the airport — in this story.)
In some form, Bonin said, the projects will get done.
“Ground transportation improvements at the airport are absolutely essential for the passengers, the airport and the airport neighbors,” Bonin said. “We certainly understand it is not a top priority for the airlines but it is a top priority for everyone else and it absolutely needs to happen.”