The most expensive facelift in L.A. history is underway and it has absolutely nothing to do with Joan Rivers.
It’s the multi-billion dollar upgrade of Los Angeles International Airport — the biggest public works project in the city’s history. And, according to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the project will be responsible for the creation of 40,000 jobs.
This week, the mayor took a group of journalists on a tour of the premiere show pony of the entire airport upgrade, the future Tom Bradley International Terminal.
Construction equipment and workers are the current inhabitants of the massive new addition that will eventually house dining, shopping and 18 brand new gates. All of that came with a price tag of $1.7 billion, none of it from the city's general fund.
Villaraigosa told the group of hard-hat wearing journalists that it's money well spent when "each daily non-stop international flight generates $621 million to the L.A. economy and 3,100 jobs."
"What this is going to be," the mayor said, "is a game changer."
The international terminal hasn’t had any significant work done since it opened in 1984.
Villraigosa said he’s convinced the upgraded terminal — with its fancy dining and shopping and an ability to accommodate 18 jumbo jets at once — will entice travelers from Asia and Latin America to choose LAX over other airports.
We’ll have to wait until next year to see if the mayor’s vision arrives on time. So far, construction on the Tom Bradley International Terminal is only halfway done.
Tom Bradley International Terminal construction zone at LAX / Shereen Marisol Meraji/KPCC