Members of Congress were in Ontario, California today to conduct a hearing examining the economic impacts and future plans for the LA/Ontario International Airport.
The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Aviation hearing was chaired by U.S. Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI). The hearing focused in part on the continuing developments regarding the future management of the airport, and received testimony from local and regional government officials, business associations, and other stakeholders.
"I appreciate City of Ontario Mayor Leon, Congressmen Baca and Calvert, the airport board members, the city and county officials, and the concerned citizens who attended today's hearing," said Subcommittee Chairman Petri.
"I particularly want to thank Congressman Gary Miller, a senior Member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, for his interest in this issue and work in bringing about this Congressional hearing," Petri continued.
"I want to emphasize that the presence of the House Aviation Subcommittee here today should not be interpreted as a sign that Congress plans to interject itself into future decisions related to the management of the airport. This is a matter that must be decided by local and regional policymakers, many of whom are in attendance here this morning," Petri said.
"However, this Subcommittee oversees all aspects of civil aviation, including the Federal Aviation Administration, airport and system capacity, airport improvement grants, and commercial aviation," Chairman Petri added. "The goal of this oversight hearing was to learn about the economic impact of the airport, including its role as a job creator, and its place in the National Aviation System. We also explored future plans for this medium-hub, commercial airport."
Petri concluded, "We heard today from the witnesses a widely held belief that a change in airport management has the clear potential to benefit all stakeholders. As they move forward with negotiations, I encourage the parties to find both a legal as well as a mutually acceptable solution for all involved."
"I would like to thank Chairman Petri and the Aviation Subcommittee for holding today's hearing," said U.S. Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA), a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Member. The Aviation Subcommittee is one of that panel's six subcommittees. "Ontario Airport is a significant economic and transportation asset for the Inland Empire. It supports thousands of jobs in the region, and serves millions of air passengers each year in one of the fastest-growing regions of the U.S. With most of our area's airports close to full capacity, Ontario Airport is a promising solution for addressing Southern California's future aviation needs due to its ability to accommodate a large increase in air service."
Miller added, "Transferring control of the airport to the Ontario International Airport Authority will help reverse the precipitous recent decline in passenger traffic and restore Ontario Airport as an economic engine for the region. I will continue to work with the City of Ontario and community and business leaders to ensure that Ontario Airport remains a vital element of the aviation network in Southern California."