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Poll: L.A. voters support local control of Ontario International Airport

January 17, 2012

A clear majority of Los Angeles voters support transferring control of Ontario International Airport (ONT) to local control, according to results of a telephone survey conducted by FM3 Research.

The announcement of the survey results came as Ontario officials announced the launch of a public information campaign – “Set ONTario Free” – to educate Southland residents of how local control of regional airports is in the best interests of Los Angeles and the entire region.  The campaign will utilize traditional media such as radio, television, newspapers and direct mail, and non-traditional media such as e-mails to voters, Facebook and Twitter. The Official Site for the campaign is SetONTarioFree.com.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Most Los Angeles voters are unaware that the City of Los Angeles is the owner and operator of Ontario International Airport and that there is widespread support for transferring control of the airport to the City of Ontario. 
  • After learning basic information about ONT and how the airport came to be controlled by the City of Los Angeles, two-thirds (68 percent) favor transferring ownership and operations of ONT back to the City of Ontario.
  • Local control is the primary reason Los Angeles voters believe that ownership and operations of ONT should be transferred to the City of Ontario. 
  • The survey also found that voters strongly support the City of Ontario’s proposal to assume responsibility for ONT, which includes financial compensation to Los Angeles and the retention of airport employees.
  • After hearing the specific elements of the Ontario proposal, three-in-four (77 percent) Los Angeles voters favor transferring ownership and operations of the airport to the City of Ontario. 

“The voters of Los Angeles get it,” said Ontario Councilmen Jim Bowman and Alan Wapner in a statement.  “We welcome their support in our efforts to regain control of Ontario Airport. Under local control, ONT will make a greater contribution to meeting the demand for air travel in Southern California.  That in turn will reduce automotive traffic congestion and pollution associated with unnecessary reliance on LAX.”

The telephone survey was conducted September 18-22, 2011, among randomly selected City of Los Angeles voters likely to cast a ballot in the November 2012 Presidential election.  The margin of error for the full sample is +/-3.3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

Ontario’s initiative enjoys widespread support from congressional leaders, California state senators, California state assembly members, local government agencies, the Southern California Association of Governments Regional Council, the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa, the Los Angeles Times, the Alliance for a Solution to Airport Congestion and many other organizations and public officials.

For more information on the survey methodology and results, refer to the accompanying memo - Summary of Ontario International Airport Issues Survey - by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3).