Liset Marquez, Staff Writer
Created: 09/06/2011 03:45:17 PM PDT

ONTARIO – City officials have once again discussed the possibility of suing Los Angeles World Airports over control of LA/Ontario International Airport.

City Council members discussed in closed session recently whether to pursue litigation in their effort to regain control of ONT from LAWA, which runs ONT and LAX. The council did not take any action.

“We’re going to continue to do everything and anything it takes to get that airport back to Ontario and that includes litigation,” said Councilman Alan Wapner.

Ontario officials had hoped by now to be managing the financially struggling airport. But despite missing their self-imposed July 1 deadline, Wapner has vowed not to give up.

Officials at LAWA did not want to comment on Ontario’s legal musing.

It is not the first time the city has discussed the topic of suing LAWA. In December the council first authorized the city manager to explore suing Los Angeles for alleged violation of its joint powers agreement over the airport.

Wapner said there was no reportable action from the closed session last week but said the city’s stance on the option to sue has not changed.

“Hopefully it doesn’t come to that point,” Wapner said. “I’m hoping we can come to some amicable resolution.”

Ontario may be running out of options. When negotiations hit a wall earlier this year, state Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga introduced a bill that would create an Inland Empire-based authority that would oversee the transfer of the airport from the city of Los Angeles.

Ontario officials have continued to meet with L.A. city officials and even offered to buy the airport about five months ago. Wapner said they are still waiting for a city’s response on their proposal.

Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has not changed his stance on selling the airport.

“Any future meaningful conversation about the disposition of the airport will be based on willingness to compete with the private sector,” said Michael Collins, director of communications for LAWA.

At the same time, Collins said LAWA has made a “huge” investment over the years and that such a sale would require the agency to adhere to fiscal and federal policies.

“It would require that we get fair market value,” Collins said.

Ontario officials contend they could more efficiently operate ONT, which has seen a 30 percent drop in air traffic in recent years.

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