LAX approves $4bn project for “automated people mover”

The green light has been given by leaders at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for a $4 billion project to develop an “automated people mover” that will connect terminals to the area’s rail network.

On Thursday the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners unanimously voted to approve the plan.

The Landside Access Modernization Program includes an automated train that will transport people in the country’s third busiest airport to and from key facilities at the airport, including multiple locations for passenger pick-up and drop-off, a new Metro light rail station, and a rental car center.

In January there will be an environmental review of the plan and an approval process – before it can proceed. If all goes well then construction will begin in early 2017.

The goal is to connect LAX to the area’s upcoming light rail and subway system before 2024.

“This is an important commitment to Los Angeles,” said Gina Marie Lindsey, C.M., executive director of Los Angeles World Airports. “The board’s decision means local residents and visitors to LAX won’t have to wait a generation to benefit from these improvements. Improvements are happening now.”

LAX airport sign

There is now significant amount of investment being pumped into LAX.

LAX to add another terminal

The airport commissioners also awarded a $961 million contract to develop another terminal that will be different from the rest of LAX’s horseshoe-shaped design.

The Midfield Satellite Concourse/North will be built between the airport’s current terminals and western edge. According to the LA Times, it will include a tunnel for passengers to reach the Bradley, where an annex will be added.

“The 11 gates will be full as they are made available for operation,” said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, the operator of LAX. “Our expectation is that growth will take us there very quickly.”

The project has a budget of $1.25 billion and is expected to be completed before 2020, according to LAX.