On behalf of the Board of Airport Commissioners and the Department of Airports staff, I want to congratulate The Times for its editorial “An Airport Ready to Take Off” (Dec. 18).
We are most excited about the introduction of commercial service at the Palmdale Regional Airport. The Palmdale facility is vital to the future of air transportation in Southern California. Given the ground congestion around LAX, residents of the San Fernando Valley and the Antelope and Santa Clarita Valleys and Ventura County will find it easier and less expensive (because of free parking) in the years to come to fly from Palmdale.
Palmdale will realize its potential only if the federal and state governments help us build mass transit to link the airport to other airports and population centers throughout Southern California. I, for one, am at a loss when I hear that the only route for the proposed Las Vegas-to-Anaheim “bullet train” must be a direct line from Las Vegas to Victorville to Anaheim. If this “bullet train” is to be subsidized by the taxpayers of California, by virtue of the grants of rights-of-way through federal and state land, then I submit that the train route ought to become an integral part of a network of light-rail lines planned with the long-term interests of all of Southern California in mind.
The City of Los Angeles Airport Commission is anxious to do its part to help create the light-rail links essential to the future economic development of the Los Angeles Basin. Working with other airport organizations around the nation, we are lobbying Congress for permission to assess a Passenger Facility Charge similar to those imposed by airports throughout Europe and Asia. A modest charge could generate sufficient revenue for necessary airport-related infrastructure, including a light-rail link to Palmdale.
JERRY B. EPSTEIN
Board of Airport Commissioners
City of Los Angeles