Not My Money (Ball) – Dodgers Extra Edition – Here Today, Gon-dola.

For those keeping score:

I do my best not to lie as I write here, regardless of what random commenters say, or otherwise. The “Not my money (ball)!” The series was originally just an opportunity to expand on a comment I wrote earlier that indirectly led to me getting a job on the site. And we’ve had some fun, often at the expense of owners pointing out the poor financial state of certain aspects of the league. I’ve tried not to bash other fanbases, after all you like what you like and that’s generally as valid as anything else in life.

But after poring over the A’s’ misdeeds and preparing to examine the Rays’ shenanigans, I’d be a home run if I ignored a festering problem. I came across a story recently in the Los Angeles Times, and frankly, it’s about time we took a look at our own home. As much as it pains me to write the next sentence, we need to talk about Frank McCourt after spending a bit of time focusing on Elon Musk.

As you may recall, in Part 1, I touched briefly on possibly the worst owner the Dodgers have ever had.

TrueBlueLA, Michael Elizondo, February 4, 2022:

Two words: frank. McCourt.

Remember it? the man who literally led the Dodgers into a financial ditch. the man who still paid as a co-owner of the Dodger Stadium parking garages – Editor’s note: the team pays $14 million annually in rent for the lots to a joint entity owned by McCourt and the Guggenheim ownership groupalthough McCourt does not receive or share any annual parking revenue, which is why I refuse to park there in 99.9999% of the circumstances.

One would think, okay, McCourt doesn’t get any of Dodger Stadium’s annual parking revenue. Naturally, you might think that McCourt has nothing more to do with the team and is therefore out of sight, out of mind. Well, that statement is not entirely accurate since he is on the periphery. But to understand what is happening now, we have to go back about five years.

So you want to build a gondola.

One of two proposed routes for the McCourt-backed Gondola project.
Courtesy of the Los Angeles Air Rapid Transit Project

We previously discussed the Dodger Stadium Express last time, so there’s no need for us to stay here for long. Apart from the year that was not in 2020, this complementary service has been launched. According to Metro, more than 2.5 million people have used the service to access the stadium from 2010 to the start of the 2022 season.

The irony and remaining issue related to the overall nightmare of getting in and out of Dodger Stadium, which I am by no means qualified to answer, is why a similar setup in Milwaukee seems to work so much better than it does in Los Angeles. The best guess I can think of is that the non-Miller Park/American Life Field is smaller than Dodger Stadium and, as such, has fewer attendees. I’m not versed in traffic science, so I’ll be reaching out to Traffic/Infrastructure YouTubers to see if they can help answer this question at a later date.

The other proposed route for the McCourt-backed Gondola project.
Courtesy of the Los Angeles Air Rapid Transit Project

However, supplemental transportation plans were proposed in 2018, beginning with the gondola project, also known as the Los Angeles Air Rapid Transit Project (“LA ART” or “Air Rapid Transit Technologies”).

Los Angeles Times, Laura J. Nelson, April 26, 2018:

Now a company funded by former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has proposed a possible solution. [to people arriving late to Dodger games because of traffic near the stadium]: a gondola lift that would take passengers from Union Station to Dodger Stadium by air in five minutes.

It’s an unorthodox proposition in a city where great ideas often sprout and die, like a similar pitch for an aerial system for the Hollywood sign. But this time, sponsors say, the plan is real.

“I am absolutely certain that this will happen,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters Thursday. “It’s not really crazy. It may seem that way because in Los Angeles we don’t have this. But this exists in more than a dozen cities around the world.”…

The article claimed that the LA ART project was still under environmental review and compared it to another privately funded infrastructure project, the Elon Musk tunnel project, which we talked about last time. Ms. Nelson’s article went on to state that Frank McCourt’s investment firm would fund a portion of the estimated $125 million cost of the LA ART project and seek private financing for the remainder.

Proposed view of a gondola taxi at Union Station – Dodger Stadium system
Courtesy of Air Rapid Transit Technologies

The article also noted that McCourt sold the Dodgers in 2011 but retained a half interest in the 130-acre parking lot around the stadium, where the proposed gondola line would come to an end. In addition, the McCourt-backed firm was seeking Metro’s approval for the project and assistance with an environmental impact report and community outreach process. At the time of the article, the McCourt-backed firm was also hoping to sign a lease to build a gondola stop at Union Station. Project officials said at the time that the company would reimburse Metro for costs associated with the environmental review and public hearings.

Los Angeles Times, Laura J. Nelson, April 26, 2018:

…Under the 2012 Dodgers sale agreement, the land surrounding Dodger Stadium is jointly controlled by McCourt and the current team ownership. The Dodgers will not be required to contribute to the financing of the gondola, Welborne said. Although lenders might be more receptive to financing a gondola that runs to Dodger Stadium 365 days a year, rather than just 81 home game dates, Welborne said development of the stadium site isn’t necessary for the project to be successful. financially viable. “No development plans are proposed,” he said.

The company would need to acquire some right-of-way in the Chinatown area to build support poles for the gondola cables and secure air rights to the space above some buildings. Land acquisition is often one of the most expensive and contentious parts of a transportation project.

Yet, [Mayor] Garcetti said that is not a cause for concern. The project occupies little floor space, and it would be possible to build a route from Union Station that would not run over homes or businesses, perhaps through the Los Angeles State Historic Park. In other cases, he said, the gondola cables would be tall enough to prevent air rights over buildings… Supporters of the project hope that public outreach could begin by the end of the year, with final decisions on routes and seasons in 2019 or 2020. The system could go live on opening day in 2022, Garcetti said, well before the 2028 Summer Olympics.

[emphasis added.]

Based on LA ART’s own materials involving estimates of the gondola’s capacity, when complete, the gondola could hold 30 to 40 people per car, traveling up to 20 mph to go from Union Station to Dodger Stadium in five to seven minutes. , transporting up to 5,500 people per hour . A final route was selected during the height of the pandemic, as shown below.

Proposed final route of the Union Station Gondola – Dodger Stadium
Courtesy of Air Rapid Transit Technologies

Since a path has been selected, you might be tempted to believe that the project is pending and all that needs to be done is to build the damn thing. Not quite. Clearly, construction of the gondola was not started, let alone completed, at the start of the 2022 season. To fully examine how things are the way they are, we’re going to have to examine issues that are beyond the scope of this current series. We’ll have to have a Legal Talk.

It’s time for a crossover with Law Talk

Next time, “Not my money (ball)!” intersects with “Law Talk,” as we discuss the issues of environmental review, eminent domain, and an ongoing lawsuit over this ongoing project.

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