Liset Márquez, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/10/2012 01:03:45 PM PDT
Updated: 10/10/2012 05:53:45 PM PDT
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday gave final approval on a plan for the city to enter into negotiations for the possible transfer of LA/Ontario International Airport to a new regional authority, despite opposition from two council members.
eport on the negotiations, which aims to determine the fair value of ONT, is expected in 90 days.
Ontario politicians, who have rallied support from their counterparts in other Southern California cities, have maintained that local control of ONT could reverse passenger traffic declines that have plagued the airport for the past half-decade.
Los Angeles’ top city administrator, Miguel Santana, last month released a report urging Los Angeles and Ontario officials to begin negotiations.
Santana’s move was backed by a Los Angeles City Council subcommittee.
But at Wednesday’s meeting, that proposal was met with disapproval from council members Tony Cardenas and Richard Alarcon.
Alarcon, who referred to the recommendation as a “sin” and a huge loss to the city of Los Angeles, said he was concerned that ONT would ultimately become a viable airport and “steal a lot of our business” from Los Angeles International Airport.
“We need to not just look at the money issue now, but look at it 30 years down the line,” he said.
An analysis from Los Angeles World Airports, the agency that operates ONT and LAX, estimated the value of ONT to be between $243 million and $605 million. Ontario had offered nearly $250 million for the airport.
Alarcon questioned how the acquisition of ONT by an Inland Empire airport authority would help efforts to redistribute air traffic throughout the region.
He contended that by keeping ONT under the supervision of LAWA there would be better coordinated efforts to redistribute air traffic.
Alarcon was also not pleased with Santana’s report, which does not call on Ontario to agree to capping its passenger traffic or the number of airlines doing business at the hub.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Cardenas and Ontario Councilman Alan Wapner bantered about the current conditions at ONT.
“Ontario airport is on the brink of disaster,” Wapner said.
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