On Thursday, Metro announced that it signed an agreement with would-be Dodgers Stadium gondola builders Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies LLC, opening the negotiation process for the ambitious project. If completed, the gondola system would move more than 5,000 passengers in each direction over the 1.25-mile distance per hour. Riders would arrive at Dodger Stadium in less than five minutes.
“This is a critical milestone in developing an innovative and exciting way for Dodgers fans to get to the game while reducing traffic,” Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington said. “For the sixth year in a row, the Dodgers have led Major League Baseball in attendance and we want to keep that streak going by finding ways to make it more convenient to reach the stadium.”
Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies, funded by former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, submitted the initial unsolicited bid in April. McCourt sold the team in 2011 but still owns half interest in the 130 acres of parking around the stadium.
Negotiations between Metro and ARTT will revolve around roles and responsibilities for planning and constructing the gondola. Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies estimated the project will cost approximately $125 million, none of which would come from Metro funding. Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies would provide part of the money necessary for construction, while the rest would come from private financers.
Gondolas were among the options for improving access to Dodger Stadium in a 1990 study by the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, which later merged with the RTD to form Metro. The idea was not pursued until earlier this year when ARTT submitted its proposal to Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation.