Miramar’s Floating Airport Is Sunk

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Airport planners in Miramar, Calif., are keeping busy seeking a suitable location for the area’s next regional airline-populated airfield. The county's new airport agency, called the Public Working Group, tasked with finding such a venue, recently recommended adding a fifth military location, East Miramar, to the list of finalists for a possible regional airport site. At the same time, the agency elected to drop a "floating airport" concept, amid concerns of engineering complexities (and, perhaps, budgetary concerns). The agency recommended that the nine-member San Diego County Regional Airport Authority board of directors focus on four San Diego County military sites. The Airport Authority hopes to draw an FAA grant to cover 80 to 90 percent of the cost, and has budgeted up to $1.8 million of its own money to use through June 30, 2004. Suggested sites include Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, East Miramar, North Island Naval Air Station and Camp Pendleton in addition to the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County. The Imperial County desert and a cross-border facility using Tijuana International Airport are also to be considered. The group suggested using the present-day Lindbergh Field in conjunction with the proposed Tijuana, Camp Pendleton and North Island locations to continue offering flights to nearby destinations or serve as a passenger portal to North Island or Tijuana.