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San Diego Airport Transit Relief Could Take Flight With Airlines’ Help

$500 Million Agreement with Carriers Could Boost Airport Access Improvement Projects.

United Airlines and other carrriers using San Diego International Airport will contribute more than $500 million over the next decade toward development projects aimed at improving traveler access to the airport. Photo: CoStar via San Diego International Airport

San Diego International Airport officials have finalized an agreement under which airlines would contribute more than $500 million over the next 10 years toward airport-related development projects, potentially including new facilities that give public transit riders long-sought direct access to the airport without having to find “last mile” rides from downtown.

“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,” April Boling, board chairman for San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, which oversees the San Diego facility, said in a statement.

Developments now in the works at the 90-year-old airport focus on improving the user experience, with projects designed to cut traffic congestion and also make the airport truly transit-friendly. A total of $3 billion in planned improvements also includes a complete renovation and expansion of the airport’s aging Terminal 1, as officials look to meet rising passenger demand.

Residents and businesses have long complained that public transit riders bound for the airport – especially those using the regional light-rail trolley system – can get no further than downtown San Diego’s transit stations, where they then must catch a taxi or Uber to reach the airport nearly two miles away.

The airport authority is now working with other regional planning agencies to rectify the situation with new projects. The new agreement includes a provision for commercial carriers using the airport – including United, American, Southwest and Alaska Airlines – to contribute $350 million over the coming decade for potential on- and off-airport transit projects, with another $165 million going toward “multimodal mobility” corridor improvements such as congestion-reducing road enhancements.

Off-airport projects are expected to require coordination with other entities including the city and transit agencies, the San Diego Association of Governments, the Unified Port of San Diego, Caltrans and the U.S. Navy. Plans in early discussion include building a new transit station on or near the airport where incoming riders could reach flight terminals directly by taking designated shuttle buses or light-rail trains.

Arian Collins, a spokesman for the city of San Diego, said sites being considered for an airport connector facility include the U.S. Navy’s technology research office campus just north of the airport, near the city’s Old Town neighborhood. The U.S. military is looking to redevelop most of that 70-acre campus with new commercial or civic elements.

Article Via: Lou Hirsh | CoStar

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