The FAA is warning officials in Silicon Valley they face a long expensive battle to close an important reliever airport for San Jose’s Mineta Airport. According to AOPA, Santa Clara County supervisors have voted to stop taking federal Airport Improvement Fund grants to begin the process of timing out the obligations that come with them. Assuming they continue to refuse the money, they could close Reid-Hillview Airport without sanction in 2031. The plan is to use the land for housing, including low-income units.
The FAA has written a letter to the supervisors reminding them they have to maintain the busy airport, which has several flight schools and numerous other businesses along with a large based aircraft population, in safe condition until then. It estimates that will cost the county about $10 million a year. It would also have to get another local airport in nearby San Martin ready to take the aircraft and businesses displaced by the closure. They would have to spend tens of millions of dollars to accommodate the closure refugees, including building a second runway, adding lights and navaids and a tower. “We appreciate the County’s interest in finding adequate locations to build low income housing, however, we ask the Board to also consider the adverse impacts of closing RHV,” the agency said in its letter.