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San Diegans asked to join Miramar airport debate

Now that the San Diego Regional Airport Authority has settled on joint use of Miramar as the best bet for the international airport of the future, the public debate begins in earnest. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

It's a divisive subject and one that hits at the heart of how San Diegans see the region evolving. The business community is divided over whether the region needs a new international airport and if so, whether that should involve asking the military to move over and share space for it.

The Chamber of Commerce will hold its own internal meetings over the next two months before taking a position on the issue. Many business leaders believe the region's growth will suffer dramatically within a decade if air travel is restricted by Lindbergh Field's capacity.

Others believe the economic benefits of having a major military presence in town is too valuable to jeopardize. Meanwhile the marines insist joint use is not feasible.

Over the next six months San Diegans will be asked to weigh the pros and cons of the debate and make a decision some observers say is the most important choice affecting the city's future. The public forums begin this week. Alison ST John KPBS News

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