McCourt Company Defends Gondola Project Amid Legal Challenge

Gavel In Court Room

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The company behind a proposed private, multimillion-dollar aerial tram to transport riders between Union Station and Dodger Stadium is defending the project as ``proven technology'' and ``clean transportation'' amid a legal action taken this week by a members of a nonprofit group who argue there was insufficient public input.

  The California Endowment's Los Angeles Superior Court petition targets the gondola project headed by Los Angeles Aerial Rapid Transit , which is owned by McCourt Global, a company in turn owned by former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. ``The allegations are without merit,'' LAART maintains in a statement released today. ``Aerial transit is a proven technology providing scenic, efficient and clean transportation for millions of people in major cities. We are proud to work with Metro on this zero-carbon transportation solution to ease congestion and provide the first permanent transit link to Dodger Stadium to make it easier for fans to get to games.''

  LAART further states it has signed up thousands of supporters in the neighborhood for ``this innovative mobility project that will be an iconic and much-needed addition to L.A.'s transportation network and increase access to clean transit for L.A. residents and visitors'' Metro is the only respondent in the petition, which lists LAART as a real-party-in-interest. But the petition brought Tuesday alleges that ``critical actions in matters of vital public interest were taken administratively, without public knowledge, oversight and/or involvement,'' all in direct violation of Metro's own policies.

  The California Endowment is asking a judge for a court order directing Metro to immediately halt work on the project, including all Metro staff support provided in its role as lead agency for the endeavor, and to terminate its ``sole-source contract'' with LAART. ``At a bare minimum, the determination that the gondola project could proceed as a sole-source project must be revisited and reversed, thereby ensuring that the gondola project will be subject to public review, oversight and a competitive bidding process,'' the legal action states.

  A Metro spokesman said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

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