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Solis Motion Demands Community Benefits for Stadium Gondola to Proceed

A motion from Supervisor Solis would require the gondola project commit to many community benefits - from robust, affordable housing to truly committing to using no public funds

Dodgers Stadium gondola rendering – from L.A. ART website

Tomorrow's Metro board meeting will feature a couple of votes that will determine the future of the proposed Dodger Stadium gondola, called the "L.A. Aerial Rapid Transit" (LAART) project.

A Metro approval this week would need to be followed by subsequent L.A. City, Caltrans, and State Parks approvals.

The proposed ~$500 million LAART gondola would travel the 1.2 miles between Union Station and Dodger Stadium, with an intermediate stop at L.A. State Historic Park - near the Chinatown A Line Metro Station.

The project is the brainchild of unsavory businessperson Frank McCourt, who profited greatly from owning the Dodgers from 2004 to 2012, when he heavily leveraged the team, leaving it facing bankruptcy. McCourt co-owns the stadium parking lots, which he is in the process of developing.

McCourt proposed that his organizations would build and operate the gondola without using any public funding. The project would require use of public space - ground space for stations, plus airspace.

Theoretically, a free project like this gondola would add a new electric mobility option, which would be well-connected to Metro. But it's really clear that the everyday mobility benefits accrue to McCourt's potential future stadium parking lot developments, which become easier to permit, hence more profitable.

And McCourt has demonstrated that he's the kind of person where you need to get everything in writing up front - which the Metro board could do.

Graphic via Stop the Gondola website

Many local leaders and organizations are opposing the gondola on various grounds including gentrification, privacy, noise, park and view impacts, and more.

Last month, L.A. City Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez put forth a motion (council file 24-0011-S4) to pause any city gondola project approvals pending further study.

Thursday's Metro meeting agenda includes two gondola items:

  • A staff recommendation to approve the project's Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
  • A nine-page motion by L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis requiring the gondola project commit to 27+ specific public benefits - from "any development on or near Dodgers Stadium parking lots includes robust, affordable housing," plus truly committing to zero public funds, anti-displacement measures, project labor agreements, green space, bike hubs, renewable energy, and more. For more on the motion, see L.A. Times coverage.

At Metro, former L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti had been a vocal proponent of the project, even mocking project opponents. Current L.A. Mayor Karen Bass appears less enamored with the project, joining the Solis motion as a co-author.

Tune in to tomorrow's 10 a.m. Metro board meeting: watch the video feed or listen at (213) 922-6045.

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