Thursday, May 4, 2017
Ontario airport not yet ready to hire master plan consultant
By Liset Márquez
The Inland Valley (CA) Daily Bulletin
Ontario International Airport.
ONTARIO - Completing Ontario International Airport’s long-term development plans are on hold — again.
The Ontario International Airport Authority postponed an April 27 vote on the facility’s master plan, concerned about a lack of financial details in the agreement.
The process of devising a master plan — which will act as a development guide for the authority over a 20-year period — was started but never completed under the airport’s previous owners, Los Angeles World Airports.
The OIAA was set to approve an agreement with San Diego-based C&S Engineers to complete the master plan and environmental analysis of the airport at a special meeting last week.
But approval was contingent on a caveat: that the air carriers, which would help pay for some of those costs, still needed to review and approve the agreement.
The authority’s CEO Kelly Fredericks said it would cost $7 million dollars and take three years to complete.
Of the total costs, 67 percent would be eligible for Federal Aviation Administration grant funding while the authority would have to pick up the rest of the costs.
But the authority hasn’t negotiated with air carriers their share of the bill, Commissioner Jim Bowman said.
“I hate to vote for something when I don’t know what that number is,” Bowman said, referring to costs that would be picked up by air carriers.
At the April 27 special meeting, Fredericks said the authority had communicated with the carriers.
“They’re fine with this as written. They have the assurance this cannot go forward with their approval,” Fredericks said.
A meeting with the airlines and authority executives has been set for May 16.
“I’m optimistic that we’ll reach an agreement,” Fredericks told the authority. “This is too important to advance without the partnership of our critical stakeholders, the air carriers.”
It is 88-year history, the airport has never completed a master plan, Fredericks told the authority April 27.
The OIAA followed a rigorous FAA criteria, regarding the process, to select C&S, Fredericks said.
“I would prefer to have all the information before we make a decision so we can move forward knowing where they are, instead of leaving it open,” authority President Alan Wapner said.
Commissioner Lucy Dunn asked what the downside would be of waiting. The problem, Fredericks said, is the authority is trying to utilize the grant funding before they expire.
“My concern is that we need to have this under contract and be utilized, and get the grant application completed and signed off by the FAA and start spending money prior to Sept. 30,” Fredericks said.
Consultant Nick Johnson said the FAA has given the authority a lot of grace because of the airport’s transfer of ownership nearly six months ago.
Dunn made a motion to table the item to the next regular OIAA meeting, once the CEO has met with the airlines.
The authority agreed on a 4-1 vote, with Wapner opposed.
Ontario Councilwoman Debra Dorst-Porada was also a bit unhappy with master plan agreement, but for a whole other reason. She requested the authority ask Fredericks to include Ontario city officials. She was miffed the city wasn’t asked to be a partner in the developing the master plan.
“I would have thought our city engineer and city planner would be included,” she said. “We are a team and we are not separate entities and I need us to work together.”
For years, Ontario worked on a campaign to take back control of the airport from Los Angeles World Airport.
The OIAA voted without discussing Dorst-Porada’s request.
Later in the meeting, Fredericks assured Dorst-Porada that the OIAA is keen on partnering with Ontario.
The authority will hold a special meeting Saturday morning to review agreements to have the city of Ontario provide fire protection, law enforcement and dispatch services for Ontario airport. The meeting is 8:30 a.m. in the Ontario International Airport Administration Offices, 1923 E. Avion St., Room 100.