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Sounding Board: The Airport

Daily Transcript Question: The strategic planning committee of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority announced that the expansion of Lindbergh Field is not an option. Given that finding, the airport will likely need to be relocated. Assuming the airport could be moved to any appropriate site in the county -- such as existing civilian or military airport sites or available open space -- where would you recommend the airport be relocated and why?

The only rational and logical location for a major airport to serve the San Diego is Miramar. It is centrally located, close to major travel corridors and its approaches are still basically undeveloped. San Diego leaders made a serious error during the recent BRAC hearings in not going after Miramar.

Considering such ludicrous locations as Campo, Imperial County or Borrego Springs only makes the San Diego Region and the Airport Authority look sillier and inept. Miramar could either be shared with the military or the military could be relocated. There are dozens of air facilities all over the United States that are being abandoned to the detriment of the surrounding communities. San Diego's booming economy would barely feel the loss of the military at Miramar and the construction of the new airport would boost construction in the area.

Barring Miramar, the only answer is to build a second runway at Lindbergh and leave heavy international traffic to LAX.

-- Bob Emery

Deputy mayor City of Poway

The obvious solution, although not popular with Scripps Ranch, University City and La Jolla (even though jet noise would be reduced with new quiet airliners on noise abatement departures versus Marine F-18's and helicopters) is Miramar.

We missed the boat when the Navy-Marine transition occurred and were led around by our noses by Duke Cunningham and the pro-military retiree gang who seem more interested in a base exchange and golf course than a real airport solution. A joint-use facility there could easily work, with the terminal east of the freeway or on the south side near the dump. There is terrific freeway access, a jet fuel pipeline and the Marine Corp. doesn't need to be here -- they are fighting desert wars these days so El Centro or Yuma would be much better, plus they hate the housing costs.

Lindbergh can be dressed up to serve for a decade or so maybe by adding a "close parallel" runway to launch departures while landings are rolling out. The Point Loma folks (whose homes have been under the departure path since 1920) don't want any expansion or improvement that will delay closing the airport.

Brown Field could be an excellent cargo airport, a corporate reliever and a South County commuter airport. An instrument landing system could be installed for access from the west. But the Bonita folks go nuts because they don't want the affordable homes they bought "around an airport" to be "around an airport" -- despite the fact that Brown Field has been there for over 50 years.

Nothing will happen until Col. Craver and Airport Authority guys begin to point out the real solutions, despite their unpopularity. It is time to make the hard decisions and quit wasting money on vacations and consultants.

Final analysis ... nothing will happen.

-- Joe Graham

Former president of the San Diego Association of Realtors, international A330 Captain, US Airways (retired)

I believe that the only logical relocation site for Lindberg Field has always been the current USMC Miramar Air Station.

Unfortunately, the political will to do what is logical or in the best interest of the region regarding a "new international airport" has always been circumvented by special interest pressures to ignore that option. The history of Miramar's availability goes back to the late 1960s and early '70s and is replete with excuses of why it never happened.

The Miramar site as the ideal location for a new airport has been supported by an advisory vote of county residents, visionary, civic-minded individuals from all walks of life and a few elected officials who were not beholden to, or intimidated by, special interest groups.

The opportunity to select Miramar was again cast aside when it became available just prior to the closure of the El Toro Marine Air Station in Orange County.

Why Miramar? Location, location, location. The essential infrastructure is in place, its size and appropriate open space cannot be duplicated within the region and the advent of new generation aircraft to further reduce noise are all reasons why this is the only logical site -- but it will never happen.

As a former board member of the interim Airport Authority that studied this issue for over a year, the real alternatives to the current Lindberg location are few, restricted or economically infeasible.

My only advice is to build a number of multi-story parking structures at the current location because we will by flying out of or into Lindberg Field for the next 43 years.

-- Art Madrid

Mayor, La Mesa City Council

It is unfortunate that Lindbergh Field has been deemed incapable of expansion. I truly believe that is the best location and one that could be expanded to serve area needs with some creativity and appropriate funding.

-- James Bond

City of Encinitas Council member

New Section: Sounding Board

Have Your Voice Heard!

The Daily Transcript introduces Sounding Board, a regular opinion page feature focusing on current issues. Send your responses to soundingboard@sddt.com.

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