Want to get from LA/Ontario International Airport to downtown Los Angeles in 20 minutes via the Metrolink?

One Los Angeles councilman thinks it can be done.

But as a subcommittee of the City Council prepares to discuss the idea at its meeting today, a spokesman for the region's rail transportation system says it can't.

Last week, Councilman Bill Rosendahl introduced a motion requesting that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office and officials from Los Angeles World Airports work with Metrolink to consider options for connecting the Ontario airport to the rail line.

His motion also suggested there would be a 20-minute connection.

"At our current schedule, we will not be able to provide a 20-minute route," Metrolink spokesman Scott Johnson said.

"Our schedule may be anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour but that's still faster than traveling the 60 Freeway or the 10 and 210 freeways."

A long-time proponent of spreading air traffic throughout the region, Rosendahl has said he is more focused on creating the connection between Ontario's airport and Metrolink, which could equate to improved air traffic, including non-stop international flights.

Rosendahl, who oversees the Transportation Committee that meets today, has said the connection is the missing link for the struggling Ontario airport, which lacks a hookup with the rail transportation system.

Passenger figures at ONT have fallen from 7.2 million in 2007 to an estimated 4.2 million in 2012.

Metrolink officials plan to attend today's meeting to answer any questions from committee members, but do not plan on making a presentation, Johnson said.

Metrolink is always open to "conversations of expanding connectivity in our schedule" with public or private agencies, he said.

"We look forward to working with councilman Rosendahl to clarify what we can offer."

One of those options could be to provide a shuttle service from a Metrolink station to the airport.

Currently, the only direct Metrolink stop at an airport is Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

Johnson said that other regional airports rely on a second partner to provide a connection to Metrolink.

John Wayne Airport in Anaheim uses the iShuttle program while Los Angeles World Airports has the Flyaway shuttle for Los Angeles International and Van Nuys airports, he said.

LAWA operates ONT, LAX and Van Nuys Airport.

In Ontario, there is a Metrolink line on the south side of the airport and another two miles north of the terminals but neither have a shuttle service that connects to ONT.

The north line - linking San Bernardino and Los Angeles - has a higher volume of traffic in the mornings with commuters from the Inland Empire going into downtown for work, Johnson said.

The south line, which runs on tracks owned by the Union Pacific Railroad, runs from Riverside to Los Angeles along the southern boundary of the airport. This may be a complicated option because the trains aren't as frequently scheduled because the tracks are shared.

San Bernardino County's transportation planning agency is working on its own plan to connect Metrolink to the airport.

San Bernardino Associated Governments board in February will consider hiring a consultant to study a connection between the Metrolink and the airport.

"We have a great resource with Ontario airport and another people mover with the Metrolink, creating that connectivity mode will offer additional value," said Tim Watkins, spokesman for SANBAG.

The study would take into consideration several factors such as the mode of transportation to use - bus, shuttle or train - the possible ridership it would generate as well as costs associated, he said.

The study would also identify which Metrolink line and station would be the best option, he said.

Watkins said the project has not been funded.

If the board agrees to hire a consultant, Watkins said the study would probably begin in late spring or early summer.

"It further expands the transportation options for people within our county and creates more connectivity with our transportation system," Watkins said.

The Transportation Committee will meet at 2 p.m. today at Los Angeles City Hall.


Reach Liset via email, call her at 909-483-8556, or find her on Twitter @DBOntarioNow.