$5B LAX ground transportation plan hit with legal challenges
- A parking lot operator is suing the City of Los Angeles over a $5 billion ground transportation plan at Los Angeles International Airport, claiming that the environmental review for the project is insufficient, according to the Los Angeles Times.
- TPS Parking Century and TPS Parking Management claim that the city and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) are not in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act because they did not sufficiently describe the Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP) and neglected to completely analyze the impact of potential ancillary growth and possible traffic congestion.
- LAX's LAMP initiative includes a $2.7 billion people mover, two new bus, taxi and commuter transportation centers and city infrastructure upgrades that aim to ease congestion in and out of the airport. LAWA officials said the environmental review was in full compliance and called the lawsuit an attempt by TPS to safeguard its parking lot income.
LAX is the second-busiest airport in the U.S. and has a $14 billion terminal and runway remodeling expansion underway. This includes the $5 billion LAMP project and the five-story, $1.6 billion Midfield Satellite Concourse. The Midfield structure will connect passengers to the airport's main terminal by an underground tunnel and moving sidewalks and will be able to service jumbo airplanes from two of its 12 new gates. The new concourse will also feature retail stores and restaurants.
The contractor for the Midfield project is the joint venture of PCL Construction and Turner Construction, but airport officials have not yet decided on the public-private partnership (P3) consortium that will build the 2.25-mile-long people mover. They have, however, whittled down the field to five potential groups.
While the fate of LAMP must await a judge's ruling, a project on the East Coast is fighting for survival after a judge found its environmental review lacking.
In August of last year, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon revoked federal and state approvals for the $5.6 billion, Bethesda, MD–area Purple Line light-rail project after an advocacy group and two individuals filed a lawsuit arguing that the project's environmental review did not adequately address the issue of ridership. The original study counted commuters from the Washington, DC, Metrorail to justify its own ridership numbers, but the plaintiffs argued that Purple Line officials did not take into consideration declining ridership of the Metro.
Leon's first order came a few days before the Federal Transit Administration was set to finalize a $900 million grant for the project, but Leon's decision voided that funding agreement. Since then, the state has lobbed a few legal challenges at Leon and filed an appeal against his decision. Leon most recently rejected the state's request to be able to proceed with construction while its appeal is being considered and is demanding a supplemental review, which, because of how much time it takes, could put the entire project in jeopardy.
- Los Angeles Times Ground transportation improvements planned for LAX challenged in court
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