Regional Transportation Highlights Access to Ontario Airport
Holden Select Committee on Regional Transportation Highlights Access to ONT
Rancho Cucamonga, CA – Creating efficient and workable transit options into and out of Ontario International Airport (ONT) has become a significant regional priority as the airport and the territory it serves continue to grow, Dr. Raymond Wolfe, Executive Director of the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) told lawmakers and regional stakeholders on Thursday.
Appearing at an informational hearing by the Select Committee on Regional Transportation Solutions, Wolfe said deeper analysis is needed to determine which alternatives offer the greatest benefit for passengers and the region.
“Given the growth that has been cited, it is imperative that we get people to make different choices,” Wolfe said, noting that SBCTA’s development of the Redlands Passenger Rail Project and the continued popularity of Metrolink’s San Bernardino Line offer considerable promise for future connectivity into the airport.
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The informational hearing was led by Assemblymember Chris Holden from California’s 41st District and focused on transportation challenges and opportunities along one of the most robust growth corridors in the United States. Population projections show San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties growing by as many as 2 million people in the next 25 years.
ONT has benefitted both from the growth of the region and its return to local control in November 2016. Since then, passenger volumes have nearly doubled, to an expected 5 million travelers this year. Long term, the airport’s capacity could reach 30 million.
“Ontario Airport is now known as the fastest-growing airport in the country, and there is a tremendous amount of excitement about that. Our commitment to our community is that we will continue to grow the airport as long as we’re not reliant on people driving their own cars. This requires a multimodal transportation system that can accommodate the growth that’s occurring and will continue to come,” said Alan D. Wapner, President of the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) and the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).
A newly released study by SCAG identified a connector from the Metrolink station in Rancho Cucamonga as an option worth further exploration to try to improve access into and out of the airport. Other options include extending the Gold Line from Montclair, bus rapid transit and express buses.
SCAG has encouraged SBCTA and LA Metro to determine the best solution moving forward.
“The Gold Line extension would run through the extreme western end of the county,” Wolfe said. “When you consider that the taxpayers of San Bernardino county would be paying for it, we need to be sensitive to the benefits they would receive,” he said.
He noted that SBCTA and OIAA have created an Ontario Airport Roundtable, made up of stakeholders and leaders throughout the region. That group is reviewing connectivity options and will provide invaluable input as to what makes the most sense.