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Transit Turf Wars at LAX

February 24, 1987

Bill Boyarsky's article (Feb. 8) was a perceptive analysis of the turf wars between the Southern California Rapid Transit District, the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission and the California Department of Transportation.

What he has missed, apparently, is the ungodly mess these turf wars are creating at Los Angeles International Airport, because there is no one authority to take charge and do the obvious. The Department of Airports has done a magnificent job of double-decking the interior auto access on its own airport area. This City of Los Angeles department, however, has no authority to improve access to LAX beyond the boundary of its airfield.

Worse, the Department of Airports receives 17% of its total revenues from parking lot fees, so it has absolutely no incentive to reduce the number of automobiles coming to the airport. It is paranoid about public transportation (bus or subway) because it pays no franchise fee such as the taxis, rent-a-car and hotel buses, limos and other private vehicles do. They go directly to the terminals to pick up and deposit passengers. The RTD buses may approach no closer than Parking Lot C; passengers must take their baggage and transfer to a "free" LAX shuttle bus.

The County Transportation Commission and Caltrans are building a rail line in the center of the Century Freeway. This rail line will not enter the airfield in subway as similar rail lines do in Chicago, Atlanta and London; the closest it can approach is Parking Lot C. These agencies have been scared off by the determined opposition of the Department of Airports. Public transportation is the enemy at LAX.

For more than 20 years it has been known that the ground access capacity for LAX is about 40 million takeoff/landing passengers. We are close to 35 million now and there are frequent gridlocks outside the airport on weekends and holidays. The subway will be at the doorstep of LAX from the Century Freeway and no one has the guts to do the obvious.

ABRAHAM FALICK

Los Angeles

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