LAX gets moving on planned $5B mass transit project

Called the Automated People Mover, the tram is expected to ease airport congestion

Mar.March 14, 2019 02:00 PM
A rendering of the People Mover tram from 2017 and traffic near LAX

More than 87 million passengers went through Los Angeles International Airport last year, and most if not all had to fight through traffic to get there and come back. Now, the city is moving forward with plans to speed that ride.

Construction started this week on an automated tram service, dubbed the People Mover, NBC Los Angeles reported. The mass transit project will connect the airport to Metro stations via a 2.25-mile line.

Last year, the city approved a $4.9-billion contract with LAX Integrated Express Solutions for the design and construction of the system, which aims to reduce vehicle traffic going to and from the airport.

More development projects around the airport are also popping up. In August, LAS Enterprise filed plans to convert an office building in Westchester into a 178-room hot. Increased demand for lodgings for travelers, coupled with the airport projects, have spurred investors to build more hotels near LAX.

For the People Mover, electric-powered trains will operate every two minutes, carrying up to 200 people each. Officials from Los Angeles World Airports, which operates LAX, anticipates the system will be used by 85.1 million passengers per year. The trams will connect to three stations inside the airport terminal loop and three outside the airport.

The system will also be connected to the Consolidated Rent-A-Car Center that aims to consolidate 20 rental operations into a 5.3 million-square-foot structure. In October, the airport entered into a $2-billion contract with a group of 11 companies to develop the facility. The massive structure will eliminate the need for courtesy vehicles to enter the terminal area and eliminate an estimated 3,200 each day, officials said. It is expected to be complete by 2023.

The two projects are part of a $14-billion redevelopment plan aimed at improving access to the airport. [NBC] — Gregory Cornfield

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