Determined to green-light mass transit to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), five local elected officials have formed a Green Line Coalition to extend the rail line to the airport.
The alliance of politicians includes Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, Congresswoman Jane Harman, State Senator Jenny Oropeza, State Assemblyman Ted Lieu and Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, representing city, county, state and federal districts in the Westside.
Their mission is to bring about the connection of the Metro Green Line to LAX via an approximately two-mile-long LAX Green Line extension, which would run from the line’s current terminus at Aviation Boulevard and Imperial Highway (I-105) to stations at Aviation and Century Boulevards and Lincoln and Sepulveda Boulevards.
The extension would alleviate traffic congestion, reduce air pollution and provide a convenient alternative to private automobile use for LAX travelers and employees, the coalition believes.
“We share a common-sense vision of mass transit for the 21st century,” said Rosendahl, who initiated the idea for the coalition. “This is an idea whose time has come. Where there is a will, there is a way. And this coalition proves that there is a strong and determined will.”
The coalition launched a Web site — www.greenlinecoalition .com — and sent letters to more than 80 elected officials throughout Southern California, asking them to join the coalition and endorse the effort.
“Extending the Green Line to provide fast and direct access to LAX makes practical sense,” Harman said. “As it stands now, the traffic burden is too much to bear for the current infrastructure.
“Extending the Green Line will help alleviate this problem that should have been taken care of long ago. Now is the time for action.”
“Extending a key Los Angeles mass transit corridor to one of the nation’s busiest airports is a no-brainer,” said Oropeza, who chaired the Assembly Transportation Committee for two years and spent five years as a board member for the county’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “Voters have clearly made transportation improvements a priority and they are now calling on state policymakers to make long-overdue projects like this one happen. I hear their call loud and clear, and I hope others can too.”
“With the launch of this coalition and the passage of the state infrastructure bonds, we’ve reached a historic moment when political will is joining with available funding,” Lieu said.
“As we continue to make improvements to LAX, we must also make improvements to mass-transit options in and around LAX,” Knabe said. “The most critical part of that goal is bringing the Green Line all the way into the airport.”
Local transit advocates have also endorsed the coalition and the extension of the Green Line to LAX.
“As we finalize the blueprint for LAX reconfiguration, there is no better time than now to green- light this long-overdue Green Line connection to LAX,” said Ken Alpern, co-chair of Friends of the Green Line. “This vital connection will not only serve the tens of thousands of daily commuters and workers who need improved access to LAX in the short term, but will also lay the groundwork for other planned LAX connections from the Westside, downtown, San Fernando Valley and South Bay in the long term.
“Every major city in the nation and world is either enjoying or building its own rail/airport connections, and Los Angeles deserves no less.”
With the LAX Master Plan Restudy currently under way, the coalition hopes to win more support for the extension, which they say frustratingly stops a mile and a half short of the airport.
In 1994, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) approved an environmental impact report, environmental impact statement and a statement of overriding considerations to construct a Metro Green Line Northern Extension to LAX.
This alignment was included in the transportation authority’s Long Range Transit Plan.
Due to subsequent funding constraints during the 1990s, coalition members say that extension was never constructed and LAX — “only a mere two miles from the Green Line” — was never connected into the regional rail network.