For decades, San Diegans have debated alternatives to the city’s landlocked downtown airport and pushed solutions as radical as a floating one.
Now a group of Mexican and U.S. investors, including Chicago billionaire Sam Zell, has gotten the official go-ahead to build a cross-border bridge that at least partly address the longtime quandary by making it easier for San Diegans and Mexicans to fly out of Tijuana’s General Abelardo L. Rodriguez International Airport.
The plan isn’t new. It’s been more than 20 years in the making. Mexico’s airport authority even proposed a strikingly similar Otay Mesa connection about 15 years before business and city leaders on our side of the border coalesced behind it.
Here’s a guide to San Diego and Tijuana’s coming cross-border bridge.
The What and Where
Developers envision a two-story facility on a now barren 55-acre parcel in Otay Mesa that abuts the border and sits directly across from Tijuana’s airport.
The U.S. side will be bustling in less than two years if investors have their way. The two-level airport crossing building will house a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing hub, offices, ticketing counters, retail stores – and of course, the crucial 390-foot bridge to Tijuana’s airport.
Support Independent Journalism Today
Anytime a billionaire can make a profit out of sending jobs out of the country somehow it is portrayed as a good thing. There is no benefit to me as a San Diego County resident or to our future generations to have our airport jobs and revenue sent out of the country. Maybe Sam Zell should think more about the working class people in this country then his own profit. Our countries manufacturing industry has been almost eliminated, our small farms have met the same fate and our domestic construction industry is going in the same direction. What's next out sourcing our governments operations, military and everything else to another country where does it stop? It doesn't look good for our future generations what will they do for a living what kind of future will this region have.
@Steven Croft Is the reason for 2+ hour border waits to protect San Diego jobs or subsidize American airline companies? The creation of easier border crossings for everyone is an economic benefit for the region. Please name a reputable economist who would argue that a more efficient pedestrian bridge to an airport will have any negative impact.
@Susanitadlraton Esa historia me la contaron y según lo que vi, eran obras relacionadas con esta noticia. "Habremos" de esperar.
@taruguetes ¡No más momentos de 5 hrs en la línea! Pero ¡hay que pagar! .
@Susanitadlraton Jajaja ¿qué esperabas?
Like a lot of the commentators, I’ve used Rodriguez field and found it fine. This is simply an added convenience and I’ll pay up to use it as long as Mexican air fares remain substantially below U.S. fares.
The discussion about Lindbergh field is old news. It’s there, it’s the most convenient airport in the U.S. despite the infamous “single runway” that’s closed maybe 2 times per year because of dense fog, and the idea that there’s somewhere we haven’t looked as an alternative simply invites another “search” boondoggle. There’s only one viable alternative, and Miramar is very difficult politically so probably wouldn’t happen if the Marines decided to vacate.
If you were running an airline that had lots of overseas flights and already had flights from LAX, would you originate overseas flights from San Diego? Of course not, you’d tell people to take a shuttle flight for another 200 bucks or so and pocket more profits. This wouldn’t change with a bigger airport here.
@Bill Bradshaw Think of the 'benefits' for the marines and for the military here to get their own personnel aound....with a real transit paid for by the Federal Taxes within our own county. Why does every other city 'build its own airport?' Such visions.include.less pollution (meeting our air quality stds.-instead of 'forcing each homeowner' to put in $tens of thousands to 'help meet the standards' -which they are pushing for!), people that could 'communicate' face to face more...meeting in transit. (vs. costs of maintaining, adding to ,widening and constantly having to pay for more roads, with more traffic. Less cost for goods, foods, etc. in sending/receiving them first by Diesel Truck to LA or Ontario, then by their airlines, paying their 'landing fees'..why don't you think of taking care of all of SD's 'needs' first?
Fact: The 'airlines' input' was Ignored in the last 'vote on the airlines.' Developers who have been' waiting to carve up Miramar for decades to build housing in' (per former ATC) most likely Paid those who put in so much false 'Propaganda' about 'affecting UC/Miramar,' advertised on our former Sole Media...most of SD residents were clueless about the real 'consequences' of Not having a real Airport (full sized 3500 acres with 2 runways, affecting NO homes) with the Real Stability in Revenues that run a successful economy. The Airlines have already SAID, they Do Not Want to have a 'divided airport sites' in San Diego..they Do want a Centralized one...as well, the cargo airlines.
Fact: Our 'smaller aircraft' have been Denied Access to LAX already. Ontario was the last airport able to expand. ALL Southern CA airports will very Soon be "At Capacity, with No room for expansion." Planning for the Future is what's needed. If San Diego wants 'Business' to stay or to grow, it must think longer term than 20 yrs...the BS that they fed Qualcomm & Sorrento Mesa businesses was fraudulent. Any airport would be built 4-4.5 miles to the southeast of Miramar's runway..affecting no one...benefitting all. What happens, my late father said (prior SD City Asst. Mgr.), when Rodriquez Airport "baggage handlers" have a 'labor strike?'
Guess who's 'out of everything?' Do you Really want to Give Up Control of this County's Cargo needs...to a Foreign Country? Wake Up San Diegans, please.
@Bill Bradshaw LAX has too many 'flights' (near capacity)...for their county & surrounding counties. We have Brawley, Imperial and part of Riverside that could and would benefit, as well as our own county...from a Real Airport here. Another $200? For businesses with repeat air cargo needs...it's not just a small fee...and it adds up. For business travelers, why do you think SD is the 'step child' of CA? Because it's so difficult/expensive to get politicians here! When was the last time we had a CA politico's convention here? Never? I remember one, maybe 35 years ago? Why does Sacramento have high Walls all along residential fronts to their freeways? Transportation taxes....and they now come from all of SD's Cargo (less than 1-3% go via Lindbergh's unfilled passenger jets..because the larger planes Can't Take Off 'fully loaded' with fuel, passengers and cargo....for them SD is a Loss, not a money-maker. There are so few Cargo Flights here vs. any other '3+ million population' city...wake up & think more about the Losses we Will be Experiencing here!
This is a good idea that will benefit both sides of the border. The cost and benefits are favorable despite an obnoxious surcharge for crossing. However it does little or nothing to address the dilemna of everyday people who want to cross the border for everyday reasons--visiting family, tourism, work and shopping. The U.S. government should be ashamed of how it lets border waits approach 2-3 hours. This has been a problem for over a decade. The only seeming explanation is bureaucratic inertia (not staffing, funding, security, the rules etc…). That people are treated this way is simply unacceptable. If the constituents affected were organized special interests, as in this scenario for an airport crossing, the waits would not exceed 15-30 minutes. Mayor Faulconer, congressmen, senators and our other elected officials give lip service to resolving these issues but fail to unite around the simple concept of serving the people based on demand. People want to cross the border in a reasonable amount of time for lawful reasons.
@Richard del Rio San Diego has little money for 'additional border crossings' in its 'transportation funding,'
giving it all away to Mexico and Zell (for 'customs') will Not Add a penny for crossings. They will be looking for their own 'funding needs' or much later, after they 'make profits' on our missing transportation system, they might think of 'the people.' Real solutions must be thought out...long term first, to short term....and we've seen no 'real plans' that benefit San Diego....only the profiteers of public money.
@Cindy Conger @Richard del Rio This is not a giveaway to Mexico. The beneficiaries are the people on both sides of the border who want to use an airport in a somewhat efficient way. The private funding model means the users are paying the costs not the local and state governments. We can discuss whether the federal government should be funding the U.S. portion rather than leasing the responsibility to a private interest. Personally I would prefer a public model built and maintained by the federal government. Nevertheless this project is plainly in San Diego's economic interest as an investment in the infrastructure of border crossings. The cost to the region of needless delays comes with a high price in lost business activity, jobs and tax revenue.
@Kathy S Yes, Kathy. His point..'don't know that "We'll" make a lot of money on it," meaning San Diego...is doubtful to make any 'revenues' from it...while Mexico will, and Sam Will, no doubt. Billionaires don't do anything that's super 'risky' with their money, do they?
VOSD doesn't know what it's talking about. SAN is _not_
"hard to get into and out of." Unlike so many other major cities, our airport is located very close to downtown and our always expanding convention center and hotels, etc., so has many convenient shuttles that are readily available. Yes, the trolley doesn't go there, but that's by design.
FWIW, San Diego doesn't need and doesn't want a big airport...the airlines would still use LAX as their closest hub no matter what San Diego builds, or where it build it, whether out in the ocean or in the desert. A result dictated by the laws of physics, aerodynamics and economics, politics aside.
@Edward Teyssier "By design?" Why, so the taxis can get more business? So the city doesn't have 'filled hotels'? So people at the airport 'can't use' the Trolley to lessen traffic or to enjoy viewing SD and its many attractive locals while sitting comfortably on transit? (ie. Old Town to SDSU-with great views?) A-2 runway airport is Not a "Big airport." 3500 acres is less than 1/2 the size of most airports the size of SD! The airlines will Not Be Able to use LAX Edward. When are you going to 'get it?' They're Already Turning Down our 'smaller aircraft' from landing! By 2020-5 ALL SOUTHERN CA Airports will be "AT CAPACITY".
Ahhem.. Who's not "getting it?" Yes, the powers that be decided NOT to allow the trolley to go to the airport so that the taxi's and others could make more money. They also did not want to allow SAN to become any bigger so that they could justify creating an "Airport Authority" and move SAN to Miramar. After all, Alan Bersin needed a job with cushy benenfits..only they didn't count on the voters nixing that idea. And using the MCRD property to expand the airport? Well, that would have just made SAN more capable, so we couldn't have THAT, now could we? So the City gave that all away to McMillan & Co. Yes, another _brilliant_ move by our Keystone Kouncil !
You say, "the airlines will Not Be Able to use LAX?" Oh, really"?! Gee, last time I was there, seeing someone off on an international fight, I saw all sorts of airplanes representing airlines from all over the world. So, I think the airlines are using, and will continue to use, LAX quite a bit, actually.
@Edward Teyssier @Cindy Conger Yes Edward, LAX will always be used, but Not by San Diegans. ' At Capacity' means they have too many aircraft serving Local LA County residents, no more 'short hop' flights. And as our 2nd highest traveled route,SD to OC/LA has been ignored by the 'CA Rail' project and stalled, again, it'll be another 20-30 years for that to even begin here...being that we're the 'last in line' for everything via the State's priorities. Prove me wrong? Even if our North County's Palomar Airport ever gets the ok to go longer, they also will not meet the requirements for larger, (profitable for the airlines) aircraft. It will be another 20-40 years or longer before even a percentage of the airlines will afford (or want to) to get a majority of their aircraft built to some greater ability to land in a small airport, a large aircraft. So the traffic...to OC/LA will get worse. We'll be forced to go in and out of TJ....giving another Country, a third world country in terms of negotiating skills, non-violent society and criminal activity...the financial stability that San Diego has long deserved. Without planning for such and effectively distributing such 'relied upon revenues' by any other 'over 1,000,000 population city, San Diego will never be the 'finest' of anything. The 'sunshine tax' has long lost its 'value.'
You might have a bit to learn about flying...ever take lessons? The airlines can't get their smaller aircraft 'profitable full loads' out of Lindbergh because of the runway's 'landing constraints.' Getting MCRD? That would help in landing or taking off? Wow, you really have no clue. Another heading runway that might be built with it gone, might have to deal with wind shears off the cliffs of Mission Hills, as well as the high rise obstacles and I-5. No 'expansions' to even go longer than its 7600' of 'usable runway' would ever 'fit' into the mud flats of Lindbergh enough now. Wind directions for take off (and most landings-we are the Only Major Metropolitan Airport in the World to have 'Head to Head Operations!-Making us the Most Dangerous!), Require heading into the West.
The rise in elevation at the 'West End' of runway would require filling in a channel and plowing right through homes (there before Lindbergh) that do make up one of the most profitable tax bases for the County and City of San Diego. So you're ready to 'sacrifice' that, too? Have you ever taken an engineering class? You really can't 'land' into a slope going 'up', very easily with large aircraft...for the same reason that you can't bring rail over the mountains & down them, otherwise, wouldn't we have a 'high speed train' out to an airport in 'El Centro'?
@Edward Teyssier @Cindy Conger Oh,and the 'powers that be' really are those that are running have been 'running the city' for the past 15-20 yrs. Investor Developers...many from out of state, who've been watching to 'divide up Miramar's 23,000 and surrounding areas of 41,000 ACRES (already 20,000 of those are owned by Developers) for housing development' for the past 20 years or more (via an ATC, retired)!
Just think, 64,000 more Acres of Housing, a minimum of 1,300,000 more units, at 3 persons each=4,000,000 people added to the middle of our County ....with NO Transit, No Airport but Lindbergh to travel In Gridlock to!
A future LA, fast in the making....what I watched OC become..and who's 'running Sandag', the 'planners?' LA/OC transplants?
@Edward Teyssier Notice...no response..how many years?
This is a good idea. Our Otay Mesa and San Yisidro boarder crossings are very busy. There is a enough boarder crossing traffic just to and from the TJ airport to merit this infrastructure. I look forward to easily crossing the boarder and taking a business trip flight to Mexico City.
Interesting to note.
the figure from the NYT article mentioned " 2.4 million travelers from the United States use the Tijuana airport,"
Meanwhile San Diego international airport served 17,710,241 passengers in 2013.
@Mark Giffin Thank you Mark, The Facts need to get out!
I'll never use that bridge. I'm perfectly happy crossing the border in the existing tunnel.
Cu Chi Tunnel Rat
Is that a question or a comment?
Always in a quandary
@Cindy Conger Nope. No question from me. I'm one of the millions who use Rodriguez when I fly within Mexico and will continue to do so. This development just makes it that much easier. And I'm also one of the many many residents who don't want (and voted that way) an international airport at East Elliot. Luckily that horse is dead.
@spoonman Because I don't believe it was needed and because it would be a major disruption to the surrounding areas. Military use of Miramar may not be ideal, but it's a far better and less disruptive use than an international airport with hundreds of more flights daily along with a major shift in both air and ground traffic patterns.
I get that Cindy Conger wants SAN gone so that she have quiet in Pt. Loma and sell more pricey homes, but SAN is in a convenient location, serves its purpose as a destination airport, and was there long before her. And frankly, for a real estate agent to complain about others making profits is just plain hypocritical.
When the airport is overloaded, and we need a larger airport, there will be no available land, and you will have yourself to blame. Of course maybe you don't care because it will not happen in your lifetime. You can slough that problem off on the next generation.
@msginsd @spoonman 'Disruption?' Nope. Lived in Mira Mesa & always thought, as a Civil Air Patrol member, that outside Miramar's 23,000 & the surrounding 41,000 ACRES, there is Plenty of Room for an airport 4.5 Miles to the Southwest of Miramar's runway. Took a tour there (east side of the runway) and Everyone, even the 'Leader of Anti-Miramar vote', now with the
AA also stated, along with every pilot I've known-that it wouldn't 'affect' any flights out of Miramar. The 'shift' would also be south of the present one. If you, Spoonman are saying how 'better' the military is in Miramar, than you know little about the Noise of commercial vs. military flights, nor their operations requirements. Ground traffic is easily far better with the transit paid for by the Feds for "18 connections" from our county's cities. Look at the transit already built from surrounding, relatively far cities to Phoenix-Mesa & another! Look at the new transit being built in Utah.
Sorry Spoonman, your 'Hypocritical' stick your head in the sand logic doesn't work here. My services will not be here by the time any airport is put in...unfortunately, so there is no 'profits' for me to be making! And what profits are you making, as a 'Developer?' Let's unmask the critics, please.
@msginsd @spoonman Wrong spoonman, I've wanted a new airport for all of San Diego for 35 yrs....when I lived in Mira Mesa. And long after we're gone from here. Are you a 'NIMBY' who thinks, or promotes, falsely that an airport in East Elliot would ever 'negatively affect' anyone? Why don't you put Your Name on your email, so we can see where you live & who you are? & what FEARs (False Education Appearing Real) you're spreading?
And we still question, is the Real purpose, the siphoning of San Diego's untouched Air Cargo landing fees...(ie. $5,000 per 747 landing) to municipalities going to be 'next' for this 'investment group', at the complete Loss for all of San Diego, its residents and visitors?
What could be a $500 million/yr. to $5 Billion/year as a Stable Revenue Source for San Diego City and County, this group plans to 'give away' to Baja Mexico, along with the high-paying Customs-processing, airport employee jobs, as well? Get a Clue, folks. The $15-18/per 'crossing' will, with the numbers expected "60% of 4-5 Billion US passengers/yr." will nearly 'cover' in just a couple of years of 'use', the Entire Cost of Zell's $78 million 'investment!' With another $75 million+ / yr. of San Diego's 'former landing fees' now going to Mexico! What investors are looking for, high profits, are of little benefit & Extreme Losses for our City, County and people...just Check out the 'backup paperwork' in the original City Council vote for a 'Customs processing and Air Cargo truck bridge' to cross onto TJ's runways from this source. Let's all 'give away' the control for San Diego's survival to Mexico, instead of thinking of 'doing it for ourselves' in the middle of the 64,000 acres of East Elliott...to include a real 'transit system' for our county, paid for (18 city connections), by the Federal Government. Talk about "extortion" possiblities? Already, Mexico has 'squashed any hopes' of 'uber' transportation use to the new terminal? Wake up folks...what's NEXT?
So, since the 'toll road' went away...a complete 'bust', the groups '$78 million investment' is Only From the ' development of the Cross Border Terminal?' "• In the unlikely event that air passenger traffic doesn’t increase, Rose said the group’s $78 million investment is secure based on projected toll collections." from the article in 2010...?
Correction to my numbers, based on the 'Cargo flights' & Phoenix landing fee revenues from last year, 2014: What could be a $500 million/yr. to $5 Billion/year as a Stable Revenue Source for San Diego City and County, this group plans to 'give away' to Baja Mexico, along with the high-paying Customs-processing, airport employee jobs, as well? Get a Clue, folks. The $15-18/per 'passenger bridge crossing fee' will, with the numbers expected "60% of 4-5 Billion US passengers/yr."(per recent article in Voice) will nearly 'cover' in just a couple of years of 'use', the Entire Cost of Zell's $78 million 'investment!' With another $75 million+ / yr. of San Diego's 'former landing fees' now going to Mexico! What investors are looking for, high profits, are of little benefit & Extreme Losses for our City, County and people...just Check out the 'backup paperwork' in the original City Council vote for a 'Customs processing and Air Cargo truck bridge' to cross onto TJ's runways from this source. Let's all 'give away' the control for San Diego's survival to Mexico, instead of thinking of 'doing it for ourselves' in the middle of the 64,000 acres of East Elliott...to include a real 'transit system' for our county, paid for (18 city connections), by the Federal Government. Talk about "extortion" possiblities? Already, Mexico has 'squashed any hopes' of 'uber' transportation use to the new terminal? Wake up folks...what's NEXT?