The cash-strapped city of Los Angeles just agreed to spend nearly $41 million on escalators, moving walkways and elevators at LAX as part of a contract with the Schindler Elevator Corporation.

The company announced Monday that it secured the deal as part of a move by the city's department of airports (Los Angeles World Airports, or LAWA) to “replace 285 older elevators, escalators and moving walkways with more efficient equipment that uses newer technology.”

LAWA has revenue and spending independent of the main city budget — which is famously $212 million in the red. In fact, the city has gotten in trouble for messing with LAWA's money. But it's still a curious expense at a time when the city is facing 1,000 possible layoffs. Which is more important to L.A., firefighters or modern “moving walks”?

Schindler boasts that the $40.8 million contact “includes the removal of the existing escalators and moving walks and the installation of new equipment, including 60 Schindler 9700 escalators, which will be produced at Schindler's Clinton, NC manufacturing facility, and four Schindler 9500 moving walks. The company will also modernize six passenger elevators and provide maintenance on all 70 units for at least five years.”

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