Liset Marquez, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/15/2012 12:06:42 PM PDT
Updated: 10/15/2012 10:45:37 PM PDT
ONTARIO – Councilman Alan Wapner has one goal and one goal only – to gain control of L.A./Ontario International Airport.
What would be the first thing he would do if he succeeded? Wapner says he’d go after the Los Angeles World Airports flag, which hangs at ONT.
“All I can think about is taking the flag down and putting our flag,” he said.
On Monday, he got one step closer when a new regional authority set up to manage ONT, should Ontario gain control, officially met for the first time.
Governed by a five-member commission, the focus of the Ontario International Airport Authority will be to operate and promote growth for the struggling facility, which has lost about 37 percent of its passenger traffic since 2007.
“This is a momentous occasion for all of us. It is going to take a lot of work to bring the Ontario Airport back to regional prominence and we are all committed to that goal,” said Wapner, who was appointed president of the commission.
Wapner is joined on the commission by Ontario Councilman Jim Bowman, Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge, San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt, and Lucy Dunn, president and CEO of the Orange County Business Council.
The Los Angeles City Council recently approved opening negotiations with Ontario for turning over control of ONT. It came after the city’s CAO, Miguel Santana, made the recommendation but also acknowledged the two parties would have to come terms on the value of the airport.
Monday’s meeting comes as Ontario City Manager Chris Hughes, who was also named as interim executive director of the authority, gets ready to meet with Los Angeles officials on negotiations for the airport.
Hughes said he hopes to define a set schedule for negotiations at that time.
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