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Ontario To LA In 20 Minutes? Councilman Backs High-Speed Rail

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The popular saying that “everywhere in L.A. takes 20 minutes” could take on a whole new meaning if one City Council member has his way.

Councilman Bill Rosendahl has asked Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles World Airports to work with officials at Metrolink to consider options for connecting the L.A./Ontario International Airport (ONT) to the rail line.

KNX 1070′s Vytas Safronikas reports Rosendahl is hoping to help move airport passengers faster with a high-speed rail connection.

“The mayor has the authority to take Measure R funds and move it around with some flexibliity,” said Rosendahl. “What I’ve suggested is put a direct link into Ontario, and you’ll be downtown in less than 25 minutes.”

Rosendahl – whose 11th District includes Los Angeles International Airport – introduced the motion on Jan. 16, which cites a 5 percent drop in passenger traffic at ONT in 2012 and points to a lack of ground transportation options as a factor.

The motion (PDF) calls for a direct Metrolink connection to ONT from Santa Barbara, Palmdale, Palm Springs, and Ontario, which Rosendahl said would allow international passengers to “fly through Ontario and get to downtown Los Angeles in 20 minutes, as compared to a 40-minute commute to LAX”.

But Metrolink’s Scott Johnson rejected Rosendahl’s projections, saying the transit agency would likely have to upgrade its trains to accomplish such an ambitious goal.

“The current schedule along either our San Bernardino or Riverside line would not allow for a 20-minute commute,” Johnson said. “You would need express trains that would have to run at a higher speed to make a 20-minute threshold.”

Metrolink service over a similar span currently takes 46 to 60 minutes depending on the time of day.

Rosendahl heads the City Council Transportation Committee, which was scheduled to review the motion at its meeting at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

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