Our Opinion: A regional solution

December 07, 2001

The old idea of locating a regional airport in Imperial County never quite goes away. It actually seems to get better and better with time.

San Diego's Lindbergh Field is too small, has no place to grow and is a dangerous place to land jets. Time and events have shown no neighborhood in the greater San Diego area is willing to put up with the noise, traffic and general commotion of a huge new airport.

So San Diego is stuck, unless it comes to Imperial County. And while we usually don't like it when San Diego gets stuck and comes to Imperial County (see water, sludge, power plants) we like the idea of a regional airport being built here, even if it is just a cargo hub as is being suggested by some.

Bob Filner, who likely will be our congressman in 2003 and is already working hard for us, and Joe Maruca, who has been distinguishing himself on the county Board of Supervisors are two people pushing this idea.


It may be a long shot, but these two fellows are working toward it, and while we don't know Filner well yet, Maruca has a history of bringing in long shots for the Imperial Valley. Southwest High and Waggoner Elementary, both of which were built during his tenure as superintendent of locals schools, are testament to that.

A study done in San Diego County regarding a new regional airport at Brown Field reported the facility would create 11,000 jobs. We would take that. Most would be blue-collar jobs, but we shouldn't turn up our noses at that. And even if the decision is to go with just a cargo facility, it would mean thousands of good jobs for locals.

We have lots of open space and open highways with highway links that would make a cargo hub a success. Filner, who is pushing a passenger and cargo regional airport for Imperial County, says a high-speed rail system could get people to San Diego, presumably from our west desert, in under a half hour.

It is one thing to dream big, but it is another thing to dream big and realistic.

More and more a huge regional airport in Imperial County is both a big and realistic dream.

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