Liset Marquez, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/25/2012 03:22:34 PM PDT
Updated: 09/25/2012 09:16:57 PM PDT
LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles City Council subcommittee has agreed with a recommendation from its top city administrator on opening up discussions for transferring control of L.A./Ontario International Airport.
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana spoke at a special Trade Commerce and Tourism meeting on Tuesday about his recent report said the airport’s value still needs to be determined.
“Ultimately, the future value of the airport will be determined through negotiations,” Santana said at Tuesday’s meeting in Los Angeles City Hall.
In order to ensure that process doesn’t get stalled, the committee directed that a progress report be given every 90 days on negotiations.
Updates to the committee will come from Santana, who will be facilitating negotiations between officials in San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.
Santana released a 100-page report on Friday in which he suggested that Los Angeles and Ontario officials begin a dialogue on negotiations for the transfer of ONT to a recently formed Ontario International Airport Authority.
Ontario officials have long maintained Los Angeles World Airports – which operates and manages ONT – has not done enough to attract passengers and airlines to ONT. The airport has lost about 42 percent of its passenger traffic since 2008.
In his recommendation for transfer, Santana has asked that LAWA provide a series of guiding principles for the negotiations.
“We do believe there is an opportunity to develop a plan and agreement to build an effective airport,” Santana said at Tuesday’s special meeting.
Ontario Councilman Alan Wapner, who has been the city’s liaison on the issue, was joined by council members Jim Bowman, Debra Dorst-Porada, and several city staff. ONT Airport manager Jess Romo was joined by a contingent of LAWA representatives.
Addressing the group, Wapner said he appreciated Santana’s report and said the only thing missing was a timeframe.
“It’s really important that time be of essence,” said Wapner who noted that passenger traffic continues in a downward spiral at the medium hub airport.
Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of LAWA, told the committee that she would be working on a guide for negotiations at the Board of Airport Commissioners’ next meeting on Oct. 15.
Urging the importance of a timely process, Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge suggested that the Los Angeles CAO provide a report every 90 days once those principles have been established. Santana agreed.
Back in March, the subcommittee also recommended that a report be given in 90 days regarding Ontario’s proposal. The report was delivered three months after that timeframe.
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