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Note to LAX: Losing Toyota Is on You - Get a Real Hub

Tickers in this article: AAL UAL

LOS ANGELES ( TheStreet) -- Do we really think low taxes and a salesman governor are enough to convince Toyota to move its North American headquarters from Torrance, Calif., its home for 50 years, to Texas?

Sure, that's the story line. And of course, companies will do pretty much anything to pay lower taxes. But another equally important consideration is transporation infrastructure, which has driven corporate relocation decisions for centuries.

In this case, Los Angeles does not have a real airline hub and Dallas/Fort Worth does. That's important for a sprawling global corporation with manufacturing plants and other facilities throughout the U.S and the world.

The big three U.S. airlines all claim to operate hubs at LAX, but that is just nomenclature. United  has the biggest LAX operation, with about 200 daily departures to 65 destinations.

By contrast, the American hub in Dallas has 800 daily departures to 192 destinations, including 42 international destinations. It has two daily flights to Tokyo. It is the second-biggest single airline hub in the world. At Atlanta, Delta operates 1,000 daily departures. Third is Charlotte, where  US Airways operates 645 daily departures to 142 destinations.

In the U.S., transportation infrastructure has dictated corporate relocations since the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth, Mass., in 1620, an early indication of the importance of East Coast harbors. Early business centers were Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston, S.C.  A high-capacity port made Charleston the fifth-largest U.S. city in 1690 and  Boeing's   choice for a 787 Dreamliner plant in 2009.    

In the U.S., Toyota has manufacturing plants in Georgetown, Ky.; Tupelo, Miss.; Huntsville, Ala.; Princeton, Ind.; Buffalo, W. Va.; and San Antonio, Texas. The closest major airports to each plant, respectively, are in Lexington, Ky.; Memphis; Huntsville; Louisville, Ky.; Charleston, W. Va., and San Antonio.

Only Memphis and San Antonio have non-stop service from Los Angeles, and it is not frequent. But all six airports have non-stop service from DFW.

"We carefully evaluated a wide range of factors before selecting Plano, which included economic considerations, geography and climate, transportation, the cost of living and educational opportunities, among others," said Toyota spokeswoman Carly Schaffner.

"With manufacturing locations in many U.S. states, Canada and Mexico, we chose a location that better supports our diverse geographic footprint, in a time zone that allows us to communicate better with most of our operations, and has direct flights to all our operations," she said.

Could LAX possibly work with a major airline to establish a hub that would provide connections throughout the country?

On the plus side, American  desperately needs a West Coast hub, and Los Angeles is easily the best possible site. United already has a West Coast hub in San Francisco and Delta is busily establishing one in Seattle. American has its New York hub in Philadelphia and its West Coast hub in Phoenix.