Connecting light rail to Los Angeles International Airport moved a giant step forward today, with the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners unanimously approving a $4 billion ground transportation plan to transport passengers from the coming Metro Crenshaw Line to LAX.

The spending package includes a people mover system to transport passengers between airport terminals, a light rail station at 96th Street and Aviation Boulevard, and a new rental car hub to be built at Manchester Square.

“Today we are moving one step closer to bringing rail to LAX and building the world-class airport our residents and visitors deserve,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who chairs the Metro Board of Directors. “The automated train to LAX, consolidated rental car center and a new passenger check-in facility will not only save time for travelers, but it will also ease traffic at the airport, on our freeways and in the surrounding neighborhoods. The LAX train will also improve our local economy as part of our airport modernization program that will create 40,000 jobs, remodel terminals and dramatically upgrade the passenger experience at LAX.”

“This is a big day for L.A. We are moving to make good on a long-standing promise to all Angelenos: We will connect LAX to a Metro station, and we’ll make it easier, faster and more convenient to travel through our airport,” said Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, chair of the council’s transportation committee. “With a new automated people mover, Metro station, consolidated rental car and intermodal transportation facilities, we’ll remove traffic and congestion from terminal areas and nearby neighborhoods, making LAX a world-class airport as well as a first-class neighbor.”

Construction for the new ground transportation system is expected to begin in 2015 after an environmental analysis slated for next month.

— Gary Walker