The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s updated economic analysis released last week is just as flawed as the first, according to the chairman of the economics department at University of California, San Diego.

In a letter to authority Chairman Joe Craver, professor Richard Carson writes that the new analysis – part of the justification for building a new airport – repeats the mistakes of a 2001 study that building a new airport could help the region reap $94 billion in gross regional product.

(That’s the local equivalent of gross domestic product, the universally recognized indicator of a country’s prosperity.)

The most recent study projects the region would be able to reap as much as $130 billion in gross regional product with a new airport. It was reviewed by the authority’s strategic committee minutes before the committee dismissed all potential airport sites except for Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

“These results were presented to the press as ‘new’ and supportive of the SDCRAA staff’s position that there were large economic losses associated with staying at Lindberg (sic),” Carson wrote. “The only conclusion that a reasonable outside observer of this process can draw is that SDCRAA staff is not interested in a seriously objective analysis of the economic impacts. The open question is whether this statement is also true of the SDCRAA Board.”

Carson challenges the model the report is based upon, saying that the report assumes businesses will simply close up shop instead of finding other ways to ship their cargo if Lindbergh Field becomes constrained. That, he wrote, “is clearly ludicrous.”

The authority meets at 8 a.m. on Monday in the West Tower of the Harbor Island Sheraton to make a final recommendation on ballot language picking Miramar as the best site for a new airport. The language will appear before voters on the November ballot.

ROB DAVIS

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