Photos courtesy of the candidates
Photos courtesy of the candidates

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s characterization of Los Angeles International as a “third world” facility during his debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton was “unfortunate and inaccurate,” a spokeswoman for Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday.

In Monday night’s debate, Trump lamented what he called the failures of the North American Free Trade Agreement, pointing to elaborate industrial projects being built in other countries while U.S. infrastructure crumbles.

“You land at LaGuardia, you land at Kennedy, you land at LAX, you land at Newark, and you come in from Dubai and Qatar and you see these incredible, you come in from China, you see these incredible airports, and you land — we’ve become a third world country,” Trump said.

“… We’re a serious debtor nation. And we have a country that needs new roads, new tunnels, new bridges, new airports, new schools, new hospitals. And we don’t have the money, because it’s been squandered on so many of your ideas,” he told Clinton.

Clinton quickly retorted: “And maybe because you haven’t paid any federal income tax for a lot of years.”

Naomi Seligman, director of communications for Mayor Eric Garcetti, responded that Trump’s “characterization of LAX during last night’s presidential debate was unfortunate and inaccurate.”

“LAX is growing into one of America’s finest airports, and we’re investing more than $14 billion right now — the largest public works program in our city’s history, funded without local tax dollars — to make it one of the most passenger-friendly, technologically advanced travel hubs in the world,” Seligman said.

“That investment includes capital renovations to eight out of the airport’s nine terminals, a brand new rental car facility and a rail system that will drastically reduce traffic and transform the way Angelenos and visitors access LAX,” she said.

The crown jewel of the airport modernization project was the construction of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, which opened in 2013. Efforts are continuing on projects to improve mobility in and around the airport, including a people-mover, a rent-a-car center and a more direct connection to the regional rail system.

On Thursday, Garcetti and other officials will cut the ribbon on the $148.5 million Terminal 4 Connector, which connects it with the Tom Bradley International Terminal, allowing passengers to make faster connections within those terminals and to Terminals 5, 6, 7 and 8.

According to Airports Council International, LAX is the third-busiest airport in the United States, and the seventh-busiest in the world, in terms of total passenger traffic.

—City News Service

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