Community members ask for more analysis on impact of airport expansion

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The San Diego International Airport is moving ahead with a $3 billion expansion plan, however, some of the people living near the airport are claiming they’re not getting a true idea of how those plans will affect noise and traffic.

At a news conference Wednesday at Liberty Station, San Diego City Council member Lorie Zapf criticized the airport’s environmental impact report, also known as an EIR.

Zapf said the report was flawed because it relied on outdated numbers and did not address the impacts on noise, air pollution and traffic on areas outside of the airport’s property lines, or suggest any solutions to provide relief. “We need an expanded, holistic footprint, not just what’s on the airport property. This is my understanding, with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). They claim they’re not responsible for paying for what’s beyond their property line,” Zapf said.

Casey Schnoor is also a critic, The Point Loma resident and a community advocate on airport issues said the Airport Authority is projecting the addition of 100,000 more departing and arriving flights by 2050.

The expansion would increase the number of gates at Terminal 1 from 19 to 30, a 58% increase. “The projection of adding 100,000 operations is inconceivable and the impacts of that- whether it be noise, air, water, traffic, infrastructure- none of those things can be sustainable at what they forecast. I don’t believe we can physically sustain that kind of traffic safely, without drastic impacts,” Schnoor said.

The chairperson of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authorty said the Authority in in the process of responding to public comments on the draft EIR.

Airport Authority chair April Boling said the airport is not ignoring concerns about traffic and cited the airport’s plans to invest $165 million on a major road project to move vehicle traffic from Harbor Drive and into the airport.

She said other ideas such as building a trolley extension, redesigning area roads or constructing an elevated people mover would have to be initiated by other agencies such as the City of San Diego or SANDAG.

Boling said the Airport Authority would be willing to join other agencies as a participating partner.

Categories: Local San Diego News