Airport Shuttle Vote Comes With Baggage

The company is based in Illinois, but has corporate offices in Arizona -- target of LA's economic boycott

Three shuttle companies that ferry passengers to and from LAX had their contracts approved Tuesday, but one came with some extra baggage.

The council ok'd a contract extension for SuperShuttle, which is based in Illinois, and has corporate offices in Arizona and a lot of blue vans zooming around LA. The council voted -- unanimously agreeing to extend the contract -- after being told the company is not based in Arizona, according to City News Service.

Earlier this year, the council approved an economic boycott of Arizona over its immigration law. The state is poised to implement the law on Thursday.

The $1.13 million one-year contract extension for Blue Van Joint Venture, which operates Super Shuttle at LAX, passed muster with the Board of Airport Commissioners and the council's Trade,  Commerce and Tourism Committee.

LAWA General Manager Gina Marie Lindsey also said the deal will benefit  the city because it requires Blue Van to pay the airport $1.3 million for the  opportunity to pick up and drop off passengers there.

"Let me be clear on this contract," she told the council. "Not only  are no tax dollars going to the state of Arizona in this, the headquarters of  this company are not in the state of Arizona and this company actually pays us  (LAX)."

In June, the council extended a contract with Scottsdale-based American Traffic Solutions to operate red light cameras for the  Los Angeles Police Department. It cited public safety reasons.

This time, Harbor-area Councilwoman Janice Hahn is warned that failure to extend the Blue Van contract could cause financial harm to Los Angeles and  take away jobs from several Super Shuttle drivers.

"This company actually pays the airport $1 million a year," said Hahn, chair of the committee that endorsed the deal to the full council. "The  boycott was about us not giving our taxpayer dollars to the state of Arizona.  It was about banning travel to the state of Arizona."

Councilman Ed Reyes said the city is upholding the economic boycott of  Arizona.

"This is not a symbolic gesture," he said. "We did not do this  resolution (economic boycott) just to sound good. We did it because we truly  believe we need to influence the environment so that not one American can be  deported for the way they look."

Also up for one-year extensions were the companies that operate the Prime Time and Roadrunner shuttle services.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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