Caltrans grants $500K to study connecting trolley to airport

SAN DIEGO — Caltrans awarded nearly $500,000 to the San Diego Association of Governments Tuesday to study a public transit corridor linking San Diego to the San Diego International Airport.

Local transportation planners and officials have attempted to add a Metropolitan Transit System trolley connection to the airport for decades, but the plan has yet to come to fruition. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, the Airport Authority and regional transit officials have discussed the possibility of a trolley-airport connection at length in recent months.

Faulconer and SANDAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata have proposed turning a Navy-owned building between Interstate 5 and Pacific Highway into the city’s version of Grand Central Station. A price tag for such a redevelopment remains unknown, but Ikhrata has suggested it could be in the billions.

Caltrans’ grant will fund a feasibility study for a future public transit line or multiple lines along Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway. The agency will receive $458,102 to complete the study as planning for a trolley extension continues to creep along.

“From fire preparedness to transit improvements to paving the way for a bicycle superhighway, planning is a crucial first step in creating projects that can help us prepare for the effects of climate change,” said Caltrans Director Laurie Berman.

Caltrans awarded a total of $40.5 million in grants statewide for transportation improvement projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on private vehicles. The award is one of nine grants totaling $2.7 million earmarked for the cities of Coronado, La Mesa and Oceanside, the Jamul Indian Village of California, the Pala Band of Mission Indians, SANDAG and the San Diego Council of Governments.

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