The Airport Authority is currently working with its regional partners, including SANDAG, the City of San Diego, Port of San Diego, the military, MTS, Caltrans and NCTD on potential transportation and transit connection improvements to the airport. The agreement with the airlines will help provide key funding for those projects, if approved.
“This agreement ensures that the Airport Authority will have the means to effectively partner with other regional agencies to improve access to the airport through transportation and transit projects,” said April Boling, Airport Authority board chairman. “It also supports the Airport Development Plan, which envisions the replacement of Terminal 1 and related improvements.”
While the specific improvements are being studied and not yet approved, the agreement ensures there will be substantial funding for those improvements should the Airport Authority and partner agencies decide to go forward with them.
The contribution of more than a half-billion dollars includes:
· $350 million for on- and potential off-airport public transportation projects in conjunction with regional partner agencies. The agreement allows the Airport Authority to contribute up to this amount when third-parties (such as regional partner agencies) contribute funds for off-airport transportation and transit projects.
· This funding could also help pay for a new transit station on airport property that could connect to the regional system. Space for a station is included in the current Airport Development Plan.
· An additional $165 million – funded 100 percent by the Airport Authority and the Airlines - could be used for multimodal mobility corridor improvements also contemplated in the Airport Development Plan and, if approved, might include an inbound, on-airport access roadway adjacent to Harbor Drive and a bicycle path.
· If approved, the roadway would connect Laurel Street directly to the airport, with no traffic lights. This would remove an estimated 45,000 cars per day from Harbor Drive. It also includes a right-of-way for future outbound lanes.
· Additionally, the multimodal mobility corridor improvements could free up space on Harbor Drive for potential Rapid Bus or light rail transit opportunities that could serve not only the airport, but also Harbor Island redevelopment projects being considered by the Port of San Diego.
“The airport and the airlines provide significant economic impact for the region, and this is just the latest example of that commitment,” said Kim Becker, Airport Authority president and CEO. “I sincerely appreciate the airlines’ willingness to participate in this agreement and pre-approve a significant investment in transportation and transit infrastructure.”
The Airport Development Plan includes projects that provide better connections for transit users, bicyclists and pedestrians, including:
· New all-electric shuttle service to and from the Old Town Transit Center;
· Upgraded transit amenities at the new Terminal 1 curbfront, such as bus shelters, info kiosks, and electronic next-arrival signs;
· A new multi-use walking and biking path along North Harbor Drive.
As with all off-airport projects, the Airport Authority will seek FAA approval for possible off-airport transportation and transit projects, similar to previous and current off-airport projects undertaken by the Airport Authority to improve Harbor Drive and Sassafras Street.