LAX Chief Says Bring Trains to Airport
By Art Marroquin, Staff Writer
January 16, 2009
The head of Los Angeles International Airport said she supports efforts to extend the Metro Green Line but remained frustrated that the train won't directly connect with airline terminals.
"The plans for bringing it into the airport sound better than they are because they don't actually bring the Green Line into the central terminal area," Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of LAX, said Thursday during a luncheon hosted by the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum.
For now, the Green Line ends about two miles from LAX, forcing commuters to take a brief bus ride to the airport.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's plan calls for extending the Green Line to nearby Manchester Square. From there, travelers would board a people mover to gain access to the airport terminals.
"That's fine, because it certainly gets you a lot closer to the airport, and that's a good thing, but you still need to get off the Green Line and onto some other conveyance to get into the central terminal area," she said. "We're in support of it, but let's understand it's not as perfect as if we did this from scratch."
MTA spokesman Rick Jager did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment about Lindsey's statements.
The Green Line opened in 1995 at a cost of $700 million, running 20 miles from Norwalk to Redondo Beach, but bypassing LAX by about two miles.
Initial plans called for extending the Green Line to LAX as soon as 2015, but a revised report from the MTA notes that the project won't be completed until sometime from 2018 to 2022 at an estimated cost of $400 million.
LAX officials said the airport's current layout would make it difficult to extend the Green Line directly into the central terminal area. Lindsey lamented that her predecessors should have had the foresight to allow for better access to public transportation. Most large cities have rail lines that directly connect to their airports.
"As a general rule, I think mass transit as a connection to major airports is an absolute must," she said. "If you were building an airport today, you would want a rail line to make it efficient."