Labor Group Opposes Lawsuit Targeting LAX Access Modernization Plan

Citing concerns that a lawsuit could delay construction of major surface access improvements for Los Angeles International Airport, a labor alliance plans to demonstrate Tuesday outside the company that filed the suit.

The Landside Access Modernization Project (LAMP) is envisioned to include a multimodal transportation terminal, a people mover and a consolidated rental car center. Earlier this year, the Environmental Impact Report was finalized.

The airport's central terminal area has over the years become increasingly clogged with traffic.

Start of consuction is targeted for next year, but some backers worry it could be delayed by a lawsuit filed by The Parking Spot, one of the private parking companies that shuttle air travelers to and from the terminals.

The Parking Spot is concerned that its shuttles could be denied access to the terminal area under LAMP, and its suit alleges flaws in the EIR, including not studying the impact of specifically allowing shuttles and eliminating car access.

"Their frivolous lawsuit will take away thouands of much-needed construction jobs and hurt the communities that surround the airport," reads a statement from Ron Miller, Executive Secretary of the Los Angeles/Orange County Counties Building & Construction Trades Council.

The council plans to lead a demonstration outside the Parking Spot's Century Blvd. location at 10am Tuesday.

An attorney for The Parking Spot said the company does not seek to delay or stop the landside modernization, and faults officials of the city-owned airport for not responding when the company raised concerns during the EIR process.

"This is about smart planning and traffic planning and doing it right," said attorney Ben Reznik. "They refused or failed to analyze how much traffic reduction they would get if they allowed shuttles and excluded cars."

The EIR indicated that, with a people mover terminal at the consolidated rental car center, there would be no need for rental car shuttles in the central terminal area. Though it did not specify whether shuttles to the private parking sites would be permitted, Reznik cited statements by public officials, including the president of the board of airport commissioners, as indication that that is the plan.

"Other (non-rental car) shuttle services will better serve customers by dropping off at the people-mover or at the new intermodal transportation facility," board president Sean Burton was quoted as saying in an interview published online by the Planning Report.

But shuttling travelers from the private parking facilities to a people mover station would entail an extra step and inconvenience for their customers, Reznik said.

LAX declined Monday to comment on the lawsuit issues.

A recent study found that 75 percent of the vehicle traffic in the central terminal area is passenger cars, and three-fourths of those are involved in ride-sharing, said Reznik, who believes the project's EIR needs to take account of that.

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