The Crenshaw Line, which will become "the first new rail service in a generation to traverse transit-dependent South Los Angeles" when it opens in 2019, is expected to cost $2.06 billion, with $700 million from federal grants and loans. Bending the line's route to the west would complete a "decades-long effort to bring rail service directly to Los Angeles International Airport." But with an estimated cost of an additional $3 billion, "transportation officials placed on the back burner a proposal for a light-rail tunnel under the terminal area," reports Laura J. Nelson. At a Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board meeting held on Thursday, board members made it clear they will focus on making the connection to LAX via a "people-mover" or circulator train.
"Barring a significant change, L.A. would soon have two light-rail routes that come near LAX but do not deliver passengers to their terminals, a problem that has puzzled and frustrated many civic leaders and transit users," adds Nelson. But some experts believe the people-mover option has its benefits.
"'If Metro knows they won't have the money to build light rail into the terminal area, and these people-mover options are a close substitute,' that choice may provide the public the biggest benefit," said Juan Matute, associate director of the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies.