Valley cargo airport could be so much more

February 16, 2002

The Imperial Valley has always been hindered with exceptionally warm summers and broken promises. As a born and raised El Centran, I have lived firsthand through the long, dreaded summers and the broken promises of bright economic futures.

The warm summers will continue to persist, as does the hope for prosperity and stability.

Recent activity has again surfaced over the development of a cargo airport in Southern California, this time in the Imperial Valley, and with it, the probability of increased economic success. The cargo airport proposal in San Diego was thwarted due to the scarcity of land and high noise levels of low-flying airplanes traveling over ritzy coastal properties.

San Diego is a developed major city with an established economy and high property values. Imperial County is an open valley of desert land that is ranked last throughout the state in economic success per household.

To reinvigorate the Imperial Valley's economy will require more than a cargo airport venue, but a venue for a global trade infrastructure that can reach beyond the horizon.


Unknown to many, the Imperial Valley is centrally located to one of the world's largest untapped global markets. The South American and Central American business contingent has been reaching out for trade stability and economic growth with the United States and Mexico for many years, yet our trade capabilities with these countries are limited. These limits include the limited life expectancy of perishable goods and one method of exporting and importing goods (sea containers.)

A cargo airport venue for the Imperial Valley shouldn't be limited to an airport itself, but it should be recognized as a significant structure for a new beginning. It should be a central commercial center structured around air, rail and truck shipments that can service the global market.

International cargo can be imported from as far away as Calais, Maine, on truck, rail or air freight to the Imperial Valley's commercial center on or near the cargo airport for importation or exportation.

Functional intercontinental railway systems, freeway routes and open air space make the Imperial Valley an appealing location for global trade. The vision of rail cars laden with shipments from the seaports of Long Beach, Calif., and Newark, N.J., destined to Imperial Valley no longer provokes a mystical view but a sense of economic security and stability.

Furthermore, the local agriculture industry again can blossom by exporting their fruits and vegetables immediately from home and not be hindered with a central produce market located far away, which threatens the life expectancy of the product.

The economic benefits of a commercial trade center will include federal government subsidies in public areas such as an airport, schools, housing, public health and other government aid programs. The Imperial Valley will someday be home to the University of the Imperial Valley, a university long in waiting, a university where our children can be afforded the opportunity to achieve in fields outside the Imperial Valley or in other areas that will further stimulte the economic growth of our homeland.

With the vision of growth for the Imperial Valley, we should reach beyond the horizon and on to world markets once believed unimaginable and serve as the true desert oasis of the 21st century.


Fairfax, Va.

(Central Union High School, clas of 1984)

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