Remaining members to be appointed in September
Liset Marquez, Staff Writer
Created: 08/22/2012 06:34:17 PM PDT
Special Section: ONT
ONTARIO – In a major step to returning local control of L.A./Ontario International Airport, the City Council has approved a joint powers agreement creating the Ontario International Airport Authority.
Council members Alan Wapner and Jim Bowman were appointed to serve on the authority at Tuesday night’s meeting.
The multi-jurisdictional commission is being set up should the city of Los Angeles agree to transfer control of the Inland Empire airport.
San Bernardino County, which is part of the JPA with Ontario, is expected to approve the creation of the authority as well as appoint its member to the commission on Tuesday during the Board of Supervisors meeting.
Once both agencies have passed the JPA, work can begin to shape the structure and policies of the authority, Bowman said.
“You have to put together at least a skeleton organization to start that process,” he said. “We’re all going to have our sleeves rolled up in the beginning but it’ll get a little easier as we identify technical people and as the structure starts to codify.”
The City Council announced the formation of the JPA and the authority on Friday. Governed by a five-member commission, the focus of the authority – should Ontario gain control of the airport – will be to operate and grow the struggling facility, which has lost about 42 percent of its passenger traffic since 2008.
Members of the new alliance will be tasked with not only developing a business plan for the small-hub facility, as well as establishing the bylaws and staying updated on talks with Los Angeles on the airport’s transfer and review options for airport management.
The authority will consist of the three San Bernardino elected officials as well as community and business leaders within the airport’s service region.
Once the Board of Supervisors has approved the new alliance between the two agencies, Bowman and Wapner said they hope to have their recommendations for the two members at-large appointed in September. Those recommendations would have to be approved by the Ontario City Council.
Just who those two will be remains unknown. Wapner said there have been discussions about who might be appropriate for the role but no one has been approached.
“I anticipate things moving fairly quickly thereafter. We have a lot of work to get done to prepare for potential transfer,” Wapner said.
Even though several elected officials from Riverside County have been actively involved in the battle for regaining control – even sending a delegation of elected officials to meet with LA council members – they have not been included in the authority.
But Bowman and Wapner say it does not entirely exclude Riverside officials from future involvement.
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