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Now that the dust has settled from the November election defeat of Prop A on the question of Lindbergh Field or Miramar as San Diego’s airport, we must focus on a workable long-term solution to our air travel needs.

The solution doesn’t have to be so cut and dry. The plan may include an improved and expanded Lindbergh Field, using the land along Pacific Highway that the airport already controls but currently uses for rental car parking, and it could eventually include parts of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot if it becomes available. Or the plan could call for a combination of Lindbergh, Montgomery, Palomar, Brown Field, or other airports to split and share the load of growing commercial air travel and the increase in general aviation (private planes and charters).

Whatever the plan, the biggest question is, “What do everyday San Diegans really want?”

Policy makers are sometimes looking for solutions in search of a problem. Proponents for expanding or moving the airport have always argued that San Diego cannot continue to grow and attract businesses to locate here without a true international airport. Opponents of moving the airport respond that we don’t want to become L.A., and that Lindbergh, as a regional airport, can serve the smaller market that is San Diego.

We are at a fork in the road. Do we want to remain a big small town, or do we want to build it so they will come? After more than 20 years of public debate, maybe now we can truly set out on a course that will lead us to San Diego’s long-term air travel solution.

Where do you land on this issue?

ART CASTANARES

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