In recent weeks, the Los Angeles City Council has approved two critical projects that will help boost the economy in Southern California.
The first project, the modernization of LAX also has the added benefit of improving safety. Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is in the midst of a multi-billion-dollar capital improvement program at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). We strongly support modernization at LAX, including certain key improvements to the airfield, the passenger terminals and ground transportation systems that will improve safety.
The LAPPL joined the Los Angeles Chamber and the City Council in supporting safety, good jobs and economic growth by supporting the Los Angeles International Airport modernization plan, which will provide key transportation and terminal improvements to give Los Angeles a safe and competitive world class airport for the 21st century.
Part of the security improvements will include the “In-Line Baggage Handling & Screening System” program, which will improve and automate the security screening of checked baggage at all LAX terminals and will make travel through LAX safer, faster and more convenient. Some of the traveler benefits include more timely and efficient baggage security screening, reduced passenger congestion in the airline ticketing lobbies by relocating the checked-baggage screening machines to non-public areas, resulting in enhanced overall safety, security and service at LAX.
As the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce pointed out, “a positive vote will give LAX the opportunity to compete with the rest of the world in airport safety, convenience and efficiency. It will create thousands of jobs, dramatically improve our image and significantly increase the quality of life for local residents who use LAX.”
The second crucial project that the Council approved came after nearly eight years of analysis. Under the leadership of Joe Buscaino, the Council approved BNSF Railway’s $500 million, privately funded Southern California International Gateway (SCIG) project. SCIG will be located within four miles of the ports, allowing trucks loaded with cargo to travel a much shorter distance before transferring the containers to rail, instead of traveling 24 miles up the 710 Freeway. SCIG will support the competitiveness and forecasted growth of both ports, which handle more than 40 percent of the nation’s container cargo and account for more than a million jobs in California.
The SCIG project will create approximately 1,500 construction jobs per year over three years of construction and 22,000 direct and indirect jobs in Southern California by 2036. Qualified local applicants will receive priority for new jobs and BNSF will offer a jobs training program to assist local residents in qualifying for those jobs. SCIG will be the greenest intermodal facility in the U.S. and will feature $100 million in green technologies, clean new trucks on designated routes and funding for zero emissions technology research.
The project will result in significant air quality and health risk improvements as compared to continuing the existing uses at the site. Most importantly, like the LAX modernization, the project will help the Southern California economy.
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