Long-awaited improvements that would include rail access at the aging and congested Los Angeles International Airport may finally be able to move forward.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday afternoon in a news release that the airport’s operator, Los Angeles World Airports, has agreed to a memorandum of understanding with the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion that would end litigation.

The grassroots group has fought a long legal battle with the airport over planned expansions, particularly a controversial proposal to move the northern runway closer to homes.

“All Angelenos deserve livable neighborhoods - whether they’re quiet and secluded, or next to one of the world’s largest airports,” Garcetti said. “Our goal in this process has always been to reach a compromise that helps us strengthen and enhance the Westchester and Playa del Rey communities while pursuing a world-class modernization of LAX. After years of hard work, I am proud that we have reached this tentative agreement together.”

The mayor said the MOU, if approved by the Los Angeles City Council, would clear the way for “billions of dollars” to modernize LAX and for airport officials to move forward on government reviews of the project.

Under the agreement, “LAWA would commit to implementing and studying a variety of safety improvements on the airport’s north airfield and would identify a site for a new air quality monitoring station,” according to the news release.

The Alliance, for its part, “has agreed it will not directly or indirectly commence, prosecute or fund any lawsuits or administrative complaints that could delay, prevent, impede, alter or affect in any way the approval or implementation of several projects,” city officials said.

The keystone of the airport improvements is the proposed $5.5 billion Landside Access Modernization Program. That project would include an “Automated People Mover” connecting three on-airport stations to Metro Rail and transit services; a new consolidated Rent-A-Car center; and roadway improvements.

LAX is the seventh-busiest airport in the world and third in the United States, airport officials say. It served more than 74.9 million passengers in 2015.

The City Council will consider the tentative MOU on Aug. 24.

Trade, transportation, and manufacturing reporter Paul Eakins can be reached at peakins@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @Pauleakins.

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