BY KIMBERLY PIERCEALL
STAFF WRITER
kpierceall@pe.com

Published: 24 January 2012 09:02 PM

The last time a Los Angeles councilman proposed taking a serious look at what it would take to transfer control of Ontario International Airport back to the city of Ontario, the Inland city didn’t have a serious proposal.

Now it does.

With Ontario’s offer of $50 million on the table, a Los Angeles city councilman has, for the second time in less than two years, proposed that his city research what it would take to cede control and ownership of the airport to the Inland Southern California city and if it would be worth it.

On Tuesday, Councilman Dennis Zine, along with Councilman Bill Rosendahl, proposed a motion for city staff to determine the fair market value of the airport and how it could be transferred, as well as analysis of the city of Ontario’s current proposal to take control of the airport.

Ontario has proposed giving Los Angeles $50 million for its general fund and taking on $75 million in debt to get back the airport. It’s a proposal that was publicly rebuffed by the executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that owns and operates the airport, LAX and Van Nuys Airport. The city of Los Angeles has managed the airport since 1967, taking ownership in 1985.

In a statement Tuesday, Ontario City Councilman Alan Wapner said the city was, “extremely pleased” about the motion introduced by Zine and Rosendahl.

An email from Zine’s press secretary indicated that the councilman was invited to tour the airport by a member of Ontario’s City Council who is a colleague on the Southern California Association of Governments council.

“We are confident that when all the facts are known and carefully considered that the LA city government will recognize that our offer is fair,” and better than what has been provided in other airport transfers, Wapner said.

The motion, simply a starting point for consideration, was sent to the city of Los Angeles’ Trade, Commerce & Tourism Committee. No action could be taken until the committee sends it back to the full City Council for a vote. Even then the committee could modify it or kill it before it gets a chance to go to the council for a full vote. Rosendahl and another councilman, Greig Smith, made a similar motion in May 2010 to look at the feasibility of transferring the airport.

“Resources are scarce and the need of LA residents is for the focus to stay at LAX to promote a maximum economic growth for Los Angeles City,” the most recent motion states.

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