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Can Ontario Airport be Saved by Trains and Housing?

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Things are bad for airports all over, but they're worse at LA/Ontario, where passenger totals are down by a bigger percentage than at any of the other 100 largest U.S. airports, reports the Press-Enterprise. It's estimated the airport will serve 4.83 million people in 2009, the smallest crowd in 20 years. As the paper points out, the population in the area has doubled in those twenty years. They blame Los Angeles World Airports, the city department that runs Ontario, LAX, and Van Nuys airport. LAWA's fee structure spreads "costs across however many airlines are there," which means the more airlines pull out or cut flights, the worse things keep getting. Per passenger cost is $14.50 at Ontario, and $5 or $6 at LAX.

An extension to the Gold Line's Foothill Extension could help LA/Ontario. The line is set to get to Montclair in 2015, but locals want it to terminate at the airport instead. Ontario's Planning Department heard recommendations from the Urban Land Institute last week on uses for a 250 acre parcel north of the 10 called the Meredith property, and according to the Contra Costa Times, the ULI suggests the Gold Line extend "through the Meredith property, then south along the Cucamonga Creek Channel to L.A./Ontario International Airport." The ULI also recommended a development focused around a transit plaza, and have high hopes for an airport-centric Ontario: "As regional airports such as Los Angeles International reach the limits of expansion, the Ontario airport is poised to be the next center of growth, said John Shumway, principal for the Concord Group [and ULI member]."
· Ontario Airport in Death Spiral [Press-Enterprise]
· Planners see a revitalized Ontario plaza for 250-acre parcel [Contra Costa Times]