The Los Angeles bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games claimed they’ve received a boost when the Mayor Monday broke ground on a new (USD) $1.6 billion terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the latest phase in a $14 billion airport modernization project that is a key element of the project’s transportation master plan.
The LAX upgrade, an already planned improvement that will be delivered before the Games are scheduled to begin is part of the available infrastructure LA offers and one of the reasons America’s bid says it can deliver the Games with low risk and no additional capital infrastructure budget.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, along with Council members Mike Bonin, Bob Blumenfield and Joe Buscaino unveiled plans for the new terminal, that was made possible when residents of the city voted in favor of a $120 billion transportation infrastructure upgrade.
The 750,000-square-foot Midfield Satellite Concourse is set for completion in 2019 and will improve LAX by adding 12 new gates, a new baggage system, and additional dining and shopping amenities for travelers. The terminal is part of a $14 billion modernization plan that includes upgrades to nearly every terminal in the airport, plus a new rail line that will connect airport passengers directly to LA’s public transportation system and reduce the volume of cars in the terminal area and surrounding freeways.
Mayor Garcetti said “LAX means so much to LA’s economy — it’s an incredible job-creator that employs more than 50,000. A record 47.3 million tourists visited our city last year — that’s why we’re investing billions to make it one of the premier airports in the world.”
LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman said “The LAX modernization plan being spearheaded by Mayor Garcetti and the City Council will take place with or without the Games, but it will undoubtedly enhance LA 2024’s ability to offer an outstanding end-to-end Games-time experience for every visitor.”
“LA 2024 requires no new transport infrastructure to host the Games, but we have worked to capitalize wherever possible on these ambitious, impactful, sustainable projects that are revolutionizing mass transit and improving the lives of Angelenos today.”
“LAX’s modernization plan is further evidence that LA 2024’s low-risk, sustainable vision for the Games fits perfectly with the city’s ongoing transformation and investment in its future.”
Los Angeles is expected to face Paris when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) votes for the 2024 host city September 13 in Lima, Peru. Last week Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos announced that he would be withdrawing his city’s bid after opponents collected signatures to force a city referendum.
An online petition calling for a vote in Paris is gaining traction, but unlikely to trigger a referendum in the French Capital.
LA has previously hosted the Olympics twice, in 1932 and 1984.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.