The Ontario International Airport (ONT) has thrived under local control. It is seeing record growth in both passenger travel, recognizing 5.6 million annual passengers (MAP) in 2019; the most since 2008, and on the commercial freight side with 782,000 tons of air cargo in 2019, a 5.1% increase over 2018. With the growing use of the airport, it is important to ensure there is adequate alternative access for travelers as well as employees to access the facility.
While rail access to ONT was not anticipated in the 2010-2014 Measure I Expenditure Plan, SBCTA is exploring a final Alternatives Analysis (AA) to identify a locally preferred alternative for connecting to this important asset of the region. This is done recognizing completion of a project, which is estimated to cost between $1 billion and $1.5 billion in 2020 dollars, will require a large infusion of revenue that is unknown at this time.
Further, funding for operations and maintenance, which could cost between $7 million and $9 million annually in 2020 dollars depending on the alternative identified, has not been identified and is not available from the traditional sources accessible to SBCTA today. However, due to the extensive time it takes to develop a project of this scale, proceeding with an AA can assist with securing state and federal funding, understanding the current fiscally constrained situation.
The alternatives being considered include the following:
SBCTA will be the lead agency on this project as the statutorily designated transportation planning agency for San Bernardino County. However, the AA will be a highly collaborative process, overseen by a technical committee of representatives from multiple agencies in both Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties, with frequent status reports provided to policy committees in both counties. SBCTA will serve as a steward of the effort that will lead all the stakeholders to an optimum solution for rail access to the airport. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) will serve as the primary channel for communication to Los Angeles (LA) County stakeholders, as the sister agency to SBCTA having transportation planning responsibility for LA County.