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San Diego’s Airport Saga Continues

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

The future of Lindbergh Field moves into another phase this morning with the first in a series of joint meetings to work on a long term vision of expansion. But there are still serious questions swirling around the Airport Authority's short term Master Plan. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

The Airport Authority's Master Plan aims to absorb growing air travel in the short term till 2015. It includes 10 new gates and a multi-story parking structure on Harbor Drive.

The San Diego City Council voted yesterday on a Memorandum of Agreement to forestall potential lawsuits over the Master Plan.

Councilman Kevin Faulconer, for example, who represent downtown, is not happy with the traffic implications.

Faulconer: Some of the strongest impacts that will occur at Lindbergh are at Harbor Drive, and yet some of the improvements being called for in this Master Plan include putting a very large parking structure on Harbor Drive. That does not make sense to me.

To avoid litigation, the council chose to support the MOA and try working together. To that end, this morning the City will hold the first joint meeting with the Airport Authority and the San Diego Association of Governments.

The goal of this new group is to plan a longer term expansion that prevents gridlock in the streets around Lindbergh Field. It might include trolley stations and moving the terminals to the other side of airstrip near I-5.

Airport Authority chair, Alan Bersin, is optimistic about the collaboration.

Bersin: This is not about whether we can come up with another study. It's about coming up with a plan backed by a plan, backed by the four-and-a-half-million dollars that the airport authority has appropriated in the planning effort in a way that pulls together political clout in the community.

Political leaders hope to come up with a final concept plan for the longer term future development of Lindbergh Field to present to stakeholders by February of next year.

Alison St John, KPBS News.

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