A regional agency has decided to keep military sites on a list for further study of possible locations where a civilian airport could be sited, it was reported today.
The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority made the 5-3 vote yesterday, with the majority willing to devote as much as $3 million for a technical analysis of Camp Pendleton, North Island Naval Air Station and the Marines' Miramar Air Station, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
The decision comes despite opposition from military leaders to a joint military-civilian airport, on grounds ranging from national security to airline passenger safety, the Union-Tribune reported.
Critics said the analysis would be futile because the military will never make the bases available for joint military-civilian operations, according to the newspaper.
Results of the military analysis by Ricondo & Associates are expected next month. Board member Paul Nieto, who voted for additional study, said the consultants' work could well uncover "very serious flaws in joint use," the newspaper reported.
The board hopes that by May it can come up with an airport site recommendation for the Nov. 7 ballot.
Besides military bases, the Airport Authority is considering civilian sites in Boulevard and the Yuha Desert of Imperial County. It also is studying an expansion plan for Lindbergh Field, but that idea requires land occupied by the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot.
The board dismissed any further analysis of a one-runway "supplemental" airport in North County. Analysts said Rancho Guejito and a site near Valley Center were physically suitable for an airport, but consultants said a two- airport idea would be financially risky, according to the Union-Tribune.
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Under the proposal, a new 3,000-acre airport would spread across a portion of Miramar's 23,000-acre footprint.
The airport authority has been charged with finding options for expanding or replacing Lindbergh Field, which is projected to be overcrowded by 2015.
His less-committal stance yesterday was spun into a plus by opposite camps in the airport debate.
The airport authority is trying to break new ground in its search for a place to build an international airport with twin, 12,000-foot runways.