LAX to Palmdale International Airport Monorail

The American Monorail-proposed monorail system connecting the intensely utilized Los Angeles International Airport with a yet-to-be developed international airport some 65 miles to the north presents a variety of opportunities and solutions to transportation problems that are not likely to be addressed by either federal or regional transportation authorities or planning regimes. Throughout the past four decades, the most essential missing link between a large scale international airport located near the high desert community of Palmdale and greater Los Angeles has been a high capacity, high speed ground transportation system to move thousands of passengers between Palmdale International Airport and their destinations throughout the San Fernando Valley and the vast Los Angeles basin. With monorail systems capable of transporting 30,000 to 40,000 passengers per hour, per rail, at speeds of 70-85 miles per hour between LA and Palmdale international airports, as well as, transporting hundreds of thousands of commuters, tourists and travelers between suburban communities of Palmdale, Valencia, Santa Clarita, Granada Hills and destination-rich West Los Angeles and LA International Airport, several transportation constituencies and entities should have vested, if not proprietary interests in development and operation of a monorail system serving this extended area of Los Angeles County.

With clearly the greatest interest in a monorail link from Palmdale International Airport to greater Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Airport Authority would be the leading agency, or interest, with regard to both initiating and funding the 65 mile connection between LAX and Palmdale airports. While providing the missing ground transportation link between Palmdale and Los Angeles, the extended monorail system would significantly reduce traffic congestion and expand access to the San Fernando Valley and western Los Angeles. The multi-dimensional, multi-constituency significance of the airport authority-initiated monorail project would be clearly evident from its inception.

The right of way path and property on which the LAX to Palmdale monorail would be constructed is within the LA City-owned Sepulveda Boulevard and Caltrans- owned 405 Freeway rights of way, continuously, from LAX to the north San Fernando Valley. Traversing the Los Angeles County Flood Control Districts-owned Los Angeles Reservoir, the monorail would continue north in the rights of way of Sepulveda Boulevard and San Fernando Road to Sierra Highway, and follow the county highway into and through the eastern edge of the City of Santa Clarita to Canyon Country, or enter the Caltrans right of way of the Antelope Valley Freeway, to follow a combination of both intersecting rights of way northeastward into the high desert and the Palmdale Airport.

The LAX to Palmdale International Airport Monorail could be planned and built in sections, or phases, beginning with a continuous promenade loop passing all terminals of LA International airport before exiting airport property into the right of way of Century Boulevard, with a station located on the row of hotels lining the boulevard entrance to the airport. Proceeding east to Aviation and turning north in railroad right of way and crossing over the 405 Freeway on the La Cienega Boulevard bridge, onto the east embankment of the freeway, the guide way would continue to a station location between the 405 Freeway and the intersection of Pico and Sepulveda boulevards, and a potential intersection of a Santa Monica to Los Angeles monorail and the terminus of the Expo light rail line, ending the first phase.

The second phase of the airport monorail would connect the high density travel corridor extending northward to the San Fernando Valley and Santa Clarita, while a third phase would continue northeast from Santa Clarita to the high desert location of the planned Palmdale International Airport, some 65 miles from LAX.

Advocates, agencies, planners and financial institutions ranging from environmental regulators and traffic congestion interests to community and regional planners, chambers of commerce to municipal governments, and entertainment to international travel industries can all contribute to the process of designing and implementing this monorail system initiated and supported by the regional airport authority. This broad base of interest and support for a new transportation system is essential to creating the initiative, and ensuring the economic viability of a monorail system development that will require the participation of multiple city, county and regional government entities, as well as, financial institutions.

On the strength of its leadership role, and substantial federal aviation, airport and transportation resources, the Los Angeles Airport Authority can commit a fraction of its cash reserves, airport property and facilities to formation of reserves and deposits in a community or public benefit bank, with the express purpose of financing the development of Palmdale to LAX monorail system, built to local standards, by local contractors and developers. While the proposed monorail system should successfully capture a significant portion of the monorail’s estimated two to three billion dollar development costs from established federal transportation funding sources, the airport authority’s leadership in establishing short-and long-term funding for all other aspects of the monorail system’s construction and operation through local community banks will underwrite and ensure a level of local self determination and control of transportation planning currently nonexistent in California or the United States. The Los Angeles Airport Authority could thus be the initiator, as well as, the long-term underwriter of a state of the art transportation development that serves the best interests of LA airports and the broader Los Angeles community as well.

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