LA/Ontario International Airport has has suffered a 32 percent decline in airline passengers since 2007. The airport had once been projected to serve 30 million passengers by 2030. (File Photo)

Liset Márquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 12/14/2011 02:26:45 PM PST

RIVERSIDE – Mayor Ron Loveridge is the latest Inland Empire politician to show his support to Ontario in its efforts to regain control of LA/Ontario International Airport.

A resolution, sponsored by Loveridge, backing Ontario’s efforts was approved Tuesday night by the Riverside City Council.

Passenger traffic has declined in recent years by nearly 30 percent at ONT while Los Angeles International Airport has gotten busier.

Los Angeles World Airports operates ONT as well as LAX.

“We all understand and recognize that Ontario airport is for the Inland Empire area – it’s our airport,” Loveridge said. “It is the key economic driver for this area.”

During discussion Tuesday night, several council members criticized LAWA’s efforts to help spread air traffic throughout the region. They also questioned the agency’s efforts to offer incentives to airlines that fly out of ONT.

LAWA spokeswoman Mary Grady said she does not agree with the view of the council members.

Grady said staffers will present a report to the Board of Airport Commissioners today that will address some of their concerns.

The report on ONT and LAWA’s regionalization efforts will provide “a clear picture of the current business realities of the airline industry and the resulting impacts on regional airports such as Ontario,” Grady said.

Several Riverside City Council members urged the public to get involved and send letters to Los Angeles City Council as well as LAWA.

“They’re in fact choking us in order to have for themselves,” Councilwoman Nancy Hart said.

“I understand the need to be selfish, but I also understand there’s a need of hundreds of thousands of people in our area that deserve better.”

The letter will be sent to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LAWA as well as all the mayors in western Riverside cities, Loveridge said.

The Riverside council joins a slew of other cities, which includes several that surround LAX, who have written letters in support of Ontario’s efforts.

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