California Assembly Seal

By Liset Marquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 05/22/15, 11:02 AM PDT |

An Assembly bill that would allow Ontario to issue bonds to finance the acquisition of L.A./Ontario International Airport from Los Angeles was approved by the state Assembly on Friday.

Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, D-Chino, and Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, co-authored AB 1455, which allows Ontario to secure the bonds from future revenues and charges from the airport. Although the bill doesn’t transfer the airport to Ontario, it creates the framework for financing if a transfer were to occur.

“A solution can be reached only through an approach that respects both interests. The introduction of this legislation is to be a vehicle for a mutually acceptable agreement on Ontario Airport,” Gomez said in a statement.

Rodriguez said he hopes the bill will spur negotiations between Ontario and Los Angeles, which have stalled due to an ongoing lawsuit for local control.

“It does send a message that people do see the need for local control,” said Rodriguez about the 75-0 vote.

The bill has received support from a coalition of state legislators representing San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties.

Ontario City Manager Al Boling said he appreciated the efforts by Gomez and Rodriguez to help Ontario regain control of the airport.

“The fact it had such bipartisan support shows this is a regional issue and a regional airport, not just an Ontario issue,” he said.

Ontario created the Ontario International Airport Authority to oversee the operation of ONT if a transfer were to occur. The authority would have the ability to issue bonds on its own, but Ontario has not been able to come to an agreement with Los Angeles on the value of the airport.

Jeff Millman, spokesman for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, said, “Los Angeles looks forward to future talks with our Inland Empire colleagues on a fair transfer of ownership of Ontario Airport.”

Rodriguez said he expects to meet with representatives from Garcetti’s office and Gomez in the near future to discuss negotiations and whether there can be a more timely transfer.

To read entire story, click here.