Our Opinion: Keep up momentum

April 11, 2002

As much of a dream as it may be, Imperial County officials should be aggressive in trying to attract a cargo airport to the Imperial Valley. Aggressive means following through with all the steps necessary to make the cargo airport project a reality.

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors appears as if it is being aggressive. The board has approved paying for 50 percent of the cost of a marketing study — a pre-step to a more expensive feasibility study — for the project.

The board has said it will cover half the cost with the idea that the Imperial Irrigation District would cover the remaining portion. The total cost of the study is about $85,000. The IID board is expected to discuss the issue in coming weeks.

We applaud the county board for its immediate action. Local officials must show a determination and a willingness to maintain the momentum of the effort. If we let that momentum falter, interest could wane and the project could die.


We are confident the IID board will have little trouble with supporting the expenditure of such funds, particularly since one of its directors, Rudy Maldonado, has been such a key player in the cargo airport project.

The Imperial Valley community must understand that local funds will have to be spent if the cargo airport is to have any chance. There is a lot at stake in this project, but we are talking about the creation of a great number of jobs and major inflow of revenue that will benefit all communities.

The level of support the Imperial Valley has for this project will make a difference. There likely will be great competition for such a facility, but the Valley is as good a location for a cargo airport as any other community.

If any private developer that would seek to build a cargo airport is ultimately interested in the Valley, we will have to make some important questions such as where such an airport should be built and what offsets will be offered to communities that might be most affected by such an airport.

But those questions are down the line. Let's get to the point where we are in a position to address those points.

Right now we have to take these initial steps and that is what the county supervisors have done. They now must keep up the charge.

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