Re "A Half-Baked LAX Plan," editorial, Dec. 1:
I applaud The Times for a timely, thoughtful and accurate editorial on Mayor James Hahn's overly ambitious Alternative D, the $9-billion plan to modernize Los Angeles International Airport. Alternative D claims that no residents will be displaced in completing the modernization plan, but, in reality, Alternative D will displace more than 6,000 residents, some of whom have federally subsidized housing vouchers. To build the ground transportation center, Los Angeles would have to acquire and demolish more than 200 homes and apartment units and a 52-year-old elementary school in addition to the 263 structures it has already acquired.
A vast majority of those who responded during a period of public comment that ended Nov. 7 were opposed to Alternative D. In addition, many elected officials have voiced opposition to Alternative D. Those who oppose Hahn's plan do so because they believe it is too costly and will not achieve its goal of making LAX more secure.
Incredibly, in the face of overwhelming opposition and criticism, the mayor plans to forge ahead with Alternative D as it is. Given the uncertainties about Alternative D and the great public outcry against the plan, why is the mayor so steadfastly clinging to the plan as it is and shunning compromise?
LAX is truly an economic engine for Southern California and one of the most important airports in the nation. There is still time, and the Southern California congressional delegation is more than willing to help develop a rational, cost-effective plan to modernize LAX and to begin creating a realistic, regional air traffic plan for Southern California.
I concur with The Times' assessment that the mayor's airport modernization proposal needs to be fixed now, before it goes to the City Council for approval early next year.
Rep. Maxine Waters
Regarding your editorial: The L.A. visitor economy has a large stake in the LAX master plan and, in particular, Alternative D. For that reason, our organization has been actively engaged in understanding and assessing the merits of the various positions taken for and against the plan.
I should say at the outset that much of what is expressed in the editorial is inconsistent with our understanding of a plan that is central to L.A.'s future economic vitality.
More specifically, the editorial noted that "other outlying airports currently serve no commercial customers.... " In fact, Ontario International Airport, part of the Los Angeles World Airports system, currently handles more than 10 million passengers annually among domestic, Central American and Asian carriers. The mayor has led international delegations that have successfully secured new demand for Ontario both as a passenger and cargo destination. Today, United Parcel Service and carriers like Airborne Express, DHL and Federal Express use Ontario to distribute 547,000 tons of cargo annually.
Michael C.R. Collins
Executive Vice President L.A. Inc., Convention and Visitors Bureau
Re your LAX editorial: The Green Line does not connect to the airport but to a station at the southeast corner of LAX. The original Green Line connection (planned 10 years ago) was just north of the airport and would allow for northern as well as southern rail access. The Los Angeles World Airports people-mover proposal provides duplicative service and inconvenient extra airport transfers.
Is this LAX reconfiguration plan also supposed to prevent northern access? If so, then I hope Hahn and LAWA have some good explanations for those in the Westside and the Valley, who are among the greatest users of LAX and who have wanted remote LAX access for years.