SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority announced a 10-year agreement with its airline partners Tuesday to improve transportation access to San Diego International Airport and potentially pave the way for a Metropolitan Transit System trolley route to the airport.
The investment pact, totaling more than a half-billion dollars, could eventually fund multiple infrastructure projects to increase transit connections between the city of San Diego and the airport. The agreement includes funding from both the Airport Authority and its associated airlines that serve the San Diego International Airport.
The projects, which are not yet approved, could include a multi-modal access road between the city and the airport, which would reduce traffic on Harbor Drive by roughly 45,000 vehicles each day. Harbor Drive is currently the main connection between the city and the airport.
The Airport Authority continues to work with the city, MTS, San Diego Association of Governments, Port of San Diego, Caltrans and the North County Transit District to draft potential transit connections. According to the Airport Authority, the reduced congestion on Harbor Drive could allow for the addition of MTS Rapid bus and trolley lines along the street.
“This agreement ensures that the Airport Authority will have the means to effectively partner with other regional agencies to improve access to the airport through transportation and transit projects,” said Airport Authority Board Chair April Boling.
The agreement includes $350 million to on- and off-airport transit projects that will be completed collaboratively with the Airport Authority’s partner agencies and $165 million for the planned multi-modal corridor. The agreement does not include additional funding for transportation projects from local agencies like SANDAG.
According to Boling, the agreement could also support projects in the Airport Development Plan like shuttle service from the Old Town Transit Center, a walking and biking path along Harbor Drive and new amenities at Terminal 1 such as bus shelters and information kiosks. All off-airport projects will require approval by the Federal Aviation Administration.
“The airport and the airlines provide significant economic impact for the region and this is just the latest example of that commitment,” said Airport Authority President and CEO Kim Becker. “I sincerely appreciate the airlines’ willingness to participate in this agreement and pre-approve a significant investment in transportation and transit infrastructure.”