Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa planned to unveil the new, $737 million Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX Wednesday morning. The list of those planning to join him for a ribbon-cutting included City Council members Bill Rosendahl, Janice Hahn and Tom LaBonge.

While the cash-strapped city could ill afford to spend money on architecture and decoration for the benefit of foreign travelers — City Hall recently faced multi-million-dollar deficits and is not out of the woods yet — LAX was in bad need of a redux, international competition is tough, and the city's airports department operates under an independent budget.

According to a statement from Villaraigosa's office, “The renovations are designed to make traveling through the terminal safer, faster and more convenient to passengers. The significant changes are expected to help LAX retain its competitiveness as the premier West Coast international gateway.”

Upgrades included “high-capacity” baggage carousels, fresh restrooms and a 45,000 square-foot baggage screening facility.

Villaraigosa's office states the terminal has received the first ever Silver LEED-EB (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-Existing Building) certification for an airport renovation projection in the United States.

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