LAX Just Broke Ground on a New $4.9-billion Project So You Can Take the Metro to the Airport (Video)

Los Angeles began construction last week of a $4.9 billion project that will connect LAX Airport to the city’s public transportation system, potentially making it easier for visitors without a car to navigate their way around.

“In Los Angeles, the nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘hey, can you give me a ride to LAX?’” County Supervisor Janice Hahn said Thursday. “In a few years, our answer to that dreaded question will be ‘no, take Metro.’”

Los Angeles International Airport people mover tram rail system
Courtesy of LAWA

The Los Angeles Automated People Mover (APM) will transport visitors around the airport terminals, to a Metro rail station or to their rental car pick-up. Unlike similar trains at New York’s JFK or Newark airports, this air-train will be free to anybody to access.

According to a video released by the mayor online, the new train will “significantly reduce congestion” currently on airport roads. LAX believes that the project will offset the carbon impact of 12 million vehicular miles driven around the airport. It’s expected that 30 million people per year will use the train.

Trains, capable of carrying 200 passengers and their luggage at a time, will travel the 2.25-mile track (with six stops) in 10 minutes. The completely-electric trains will run every two minutes, 24/7. Top speeds are capped at 47 miles per hour.

“We can't have a truly world-class airport until we have public transit that brings people right to the terminals,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a ceremony for the project.

The APM is expected to be completed and fully operational by 2023. The project is part of Los Angeles’s preparations for hosting the 2028 Olympics. In fact, the trains will be outfitted in special Olympics 2028 livery. Multiple terminals have already undergone renovation ahead of the global event.

Last year, LAX set an all-time record, with 87.5 million passengers passing through its doors (about three million more than in 2017). According to the Federal Aviation Administration, it is the second-busiest airport in the country.

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