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Lindbergh Field will be San Diego’s airport for the foreseeable future.
After $17.2 million was spent searching for another site to hold a two-runway airport, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority now turns its sights to Lindbergh.
The 661-acre airport, which is San Diego’s only major airport, has one runway. The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority says that single fact means the airport will reach capacity between 2015 and 2022.
But on Nov. 7, 62 percent of county voters rejected a plan known as Proposition A, which called for eventually closing Lindbergh Field and moving the region’s airport to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
A three-year-long search for a solution to projections that Lindbergh would hit capacity had again pointed to Miramar as the best place to put the region’s international airport. But the Marines said they would neither surrender nor share their base for a commercial airport. And other political problems arose along the way.
The airport authority was formed in 2003 to address this very issue. The legislation that created the authority came with major tasks:
- Run the airport.
- Develop land-use plans for the region’s airports.
- Put an end to the discussions about whether Lindbergh Field is adequate or not. The law required that a solution be put on the ballot by November 2006.
The authority looked at a range of options before settling on Miramar in June. They studied the viability of building a maglev train to a tract of land in Imperial County, 94 miles away. They looked in Riverside County. In Borrego Springs. In North County. In South County. And in East County.
Ultimately, though, they settled on Miramar . The Marine base was similarly targeted in 1994. By a 52-48 percent vote, voters endorsed the measure. But their decision was advisory, and the move never happened.
Now, the future of the authority is in question. State Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, is considering legislation that could overhaul the authority and possibly transfer its planning power to the San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG, a regional planning agency.