Los Angeles International Airport has no direct rail lines, only shuttle bus service. But that may change.
With a surge in rail construction in Los Angeles, governing boards from the airport and the county transportation agency are expected to decide in the coming weeks whether to choose from several proposals that would connect the airport to the Crenshaw Line, which began construction in January and is expected to be complete in 2019, and the existing Green Line.
Los Angeles is one of the few major cities that do not offer rail service to its main airport. Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta and Washington have long had such a link. About 10 years ago, after many delays, New York added one to Kennedy International Airport. Cities like Portland, Minneapolis, Seattle, Newark, Phoenix, Miami and San Francisco have also added rail connections.
From a transportation standpoint, experts say that if there is to be any chance in the long term of relieving traffic delays in one of the region’s most congested areas, a rail link to the airport is necessary.
The current setup is haphazard and halfhearted. Neither the airport nor the county tracks how many people use the rail-bus connection to reach the airport. On Saturday evening, the shuttle buses were overwhelmingly filled with airport employees, perhaps explaining why one of the two luggage racks on most buses has been removed. On Sundays and holidays, only two buses are available to run the loop, sometimes causing 15- to 20-minute waits, said Whitni Lampkin, who commutes to her job at the airport on the Green Line.
There is broad agreement that these types of infrastructure improvements are needed, and because of the 2008 passage of a half-cent county sales tax increase, the money is available. It is expected to raise $40 billion over 30 years for transportation projects.
But just how the connection is made is where the politics lie.
They should have extended the Green Line to LAX when they built it. It was a matter of only a few miles, I think, but all they wanted is to reach the houses of the aerospace workers.
Now if our elected genius's would consider a monorail over the 405 from South county connecting with the three airports (SNA LGB and LAX) with Crenshaw line and other LA transportation, they might find that more efficient and cheaper than widening the freeways yet again. It would be faster, safer and less nerve wracking than the daily commute for a couple million people. Maybe even Santa Barbara and San Diego could be invited to join in.