SACRAMENTO–California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) will ask the state Legislature to create a special committee tasked with making sure San Diego’s international airport is prepared to address its enormous traffic, transit and environmental challenges.
“The conversation over the past few weeks about the future of our international airport has been a productive one,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher said. “I’m grateful to see there is a growing consensus that the focus of our legislation this year should be squarely on securing the cooperation of the international airport’s operator, its landlord, and other agencies in the region that can play a positive role in the planning and financing needed to maximize cost-effective mobility for 10 million more passengers annually over the next decade as well and the preservation of this important regional economic asset as San Diego Bay confronts sea level rise.”
Assembly Bill 3119 calls for the creation of the San Diego International Airport Mobility and Sustainability Committee, comprised of one representative from the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority; the Port of San Diego; the city of San Diego; San Diego County; the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System; the North County Transit District and the San Diego Association of Governments. A representative of the Airport Authority will chair the committee, which will have until January 1, 2020 to deliver a report to the state Legislature, one year from the date of its creation.
The report will be expected to contain ambitious but realistic plans to make sure the airport evolves in a way that’s best for the entire region.
The traffic and transit challenges at San Diego International Airport, formerly known as Lindbergh Field, have been well-documented. Traffic jams on the roads bordering the airport could only get worse as the number of airport users mushrooms. Currently, travelers can’t get to the airport via any mode of public transportation other than bus.
At last count, travelers arrived at San Diego’s airport via public transit at a rate of one-fifth the national average for all U.S. airports, an apparent contradiction for a city that has boldly committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Los Angeles, by contrast, just announced a $4.9 billion plan to create a light-rail system that will shuttle people to and from LAX and projects connecting Oakland and San Francisco’s international airports to regional transit systems have been recently completed.
Meanwhile, according to various estimates, rising sea levels could leave the airport’s runway under water as soon as 2050.