LOS ANGELES — There was no immediate reaction Sept. 27 from officials at Los Angeles International Airport, which was derided by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as a “third-world” facility during his debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton.
In the presidential debate Sept. 26, Trump lamented what he called the failures of the North American Free Trade Agreement, pointing to elaborate industrial projects being built in other countries while U.S. infrastructure crumbles.
“You land at LaGuardia, you land at Kennedy, you land at LAX, you land at Newark, and you come in from Dubai and Qatar and you see these incredible, you come in from China, you see these incredible airports, and you land — we’ve become a third-world country,” Trump said.
“We’re a serious debtor nation. And we have a country that needs new roads, new tunnels, new bridges, new airports, new schools, new hospitals. And we don’t have the money, because it’s been squandered on so many of your ideas,” he told Clinton.
Clinton quickly retorted: “And maybe because you haven’t paid any federal income tax for a lot of years.”
Airport and city officials in the past have acknowledged the need for improvements at LAX, which is now in the midst of a $14 billion capital improvement program, the largest public works project in the city’s history.
The crown jewel of the project was the construction of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, which opened in 2013. Efforts are continuing on projects to improve mobility in and around the airport, including a people-mover, a rent-a-car center and a more direct connection to the regional rail system.
On Sept. 29, Mayor Eric Garcetti and other officials will cut the ribbon on the $148.5 million Terminal 4 Connector, which connects it with the Tom Bradley International Terminal, allowing passengers to make faster connections within those terminals and to Terminals 5, 6, 7 and 8.
Individual terminals are also being renovated or have already been renovated as part of the project.
According to Airports Council International, LAX is the third-busiest airport in the United States, and the seventh-busiest in the world, in terms of total passenger traffic.