Plans to expand gates and add improvements at Lindbergh Field Airport are still up in the air while three government agencies hammer out an agreement.
Two of the three agencies , the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, which manages the airport, and the San Diego Association of Governments, the region’s transportation planning agency , have approved the agreement called a memorandum of agreement, but the city of San Diego has not.
Brenton Lobner, general counsel for the airport authority, said officials from each agency, who have met several times, are nearing agreement.
Last month, the authority’s plan to certify an Environmental Impact Report on the $700 million project was put on hold when Sandag and the city objected to expanding Terminal 2 (the airport terminal farthest west) by 10 gates, and building a 3,700-space garage.
Mayor Jerry Sanders said he wants the authority to study Lindbergh over the long term, possibly moving its three passenger terminals to the north side of the field and building a bus and trolley transit center on the east side.
Airport authority officials agreed to study the alternatives, though they maintain improvements to existing facilities should proceed as it nears capacity.
Lindbergh Field, one of the nation’s smallest commercial airports serving a large city, handled 18.4 million passengers last year.
Consensus On Moving Ahead
Lobner said everyone has agreed to move ahead while the airport authority conducts studies on relocating terminals, consolidating parking and building a transit center.
“This is a fair quid pro quo. We do what we’re supposed to do, and in return for doing that, they will agree not to bring any sort of legal challenge to the EIR,” Lobner said.
Bill Harris, deputy press secretary for Sanders, said the mayor hasn’t changed his position on moving ahead with the first phase of the improvements.
“Like any complicated document, all three parties are going through it, and reviewing various drafts,” he said.
Once the parties sign off, the airport authority could certify the EIR in April. Construction is planned to begin in mid-2009 and be completed in 2012.
On March 6, the authority’s board approved a $4.6 million contract with Jacobs Consulting Group for a concept development plan, which would examine alternatives for Lindbergh, including relocation of terminals, and the site of an intermodal transit center.