Sandra Emerson and Neil Nisperos, Staff Writers
Posted: 09/05/2012 08:57:48 AM PDT
ONTARIO – Council members decided to spread their reach when filling the final two slots on the Ontario International Airport Authority.
Riverside Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge and Lucy Dunn, the president and CEO of the Orange County Business Council, were appointed Tuesday by the council to the recently formed five-person authority.
Loveridge and Dunn will join Ontario council members Alan Wapner and Jim Bowman and San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt.
The focus of the authority – if Ontario gains control of L.A./Ontario International Airport from Los Angeles – will be to operate and increase traffic at the struggling airport, which has lost about 42 percent of its passenger traffic since 2008.
“Ontario International Airport is clearly an underutilized asset, and I’m working very hard to grow the Southern California economy by helping our businesses grow and making our government efficient and effective,” said Dunn, whose agency represents the Orange County business community in efforts to enhance economic development.
Ontario officials have long maintained that Los Angeles World Airports, ONT’s owner and operator, has not done enough to attract traffic to the airport.
LAWA also oversees Los Angeles International Airport and Van Nuys Airport.
“I’m not really representing the city as much as I’m representing western Riverside County,” Loveridge said.
“We have a high stake in the success of the Ontario airport. I’ve been in office for a long time, and I don’t remember any other initiative which there was more agreement upon than local control of the Ontario airport.
More than 120 governments, organizations and area officials from San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties have endorsed local control of ONT.
The authority would be tasked with developing a business plan for ONT, establishing bylaws and staying updated on talks with Los Angeles on the airport’s transfer and review options for airport management.
“It’s our airport,” Loveridge said. “Otherwise you’re sentenced to this long drive into LAX, and it takes time.”
Wapner hailed the addition of Dunn and Loveridge to the authority.
“We’ve got two nationally known leaders in business, government and transportation, and, to make this a regional airport, we need regional representation on that commission,” he said.
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