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Airport Authority initiates dialogue over Port of San Diego’s unprecedented fee on Airport Tenants

Friday, August 3, 2018

SAN DIEGO – August 3, 2018 – The Airport Authority held a meeting with Port of San Diego leaders today regarding an unprecedented Port-imposed user fee on rental car transactions taking place on airport property.

The Port fee prompted a lawsuit brought by Enterprise Rent-A-Car and The Hertz Corporation, of which the Airport Authority filed an answer to be included in the discussion involving airport tenants. 

Airport Authority Board Chairman April Boling issued the following in regards to the Airport Authority’s position on the dispute:

First and foremost, as a regional agency that serves communities throughout the county, the Airport Authority recognizes the importance of and fully supports the Chula Vista Bayfront Project. This long-awaited and transformational project has clear economic benefits to the South Bay and the entire region and we want the project to succeed.

That’s why we feel it’s so important to set the record straight on the action taken by the Airport Authority regarding the lawsuit that was brought by Enterprise Rent-A-Car and The Hertz Corporation against the Port of San Diego. I want to emphasize that the Airport Authority did not initiate this lawsuit and is not a plaintiff.  As a result of the rental car companies’ lawsuit, a court will be deciding an issue that is central to the airport’s financial well-being: who can collect fees on the airport.  Therefore, it was necessary for the Airport Authority to intervene in the lawsuit to simply get a seat at the table.

As you may be aware, the Port recently resumed its assessment of a fee on rental car customers for the purpose of funding the Chula Vista Bayfront parking garage.  This fee was previously collected between 1999 and 2006 for the purposes of constructing the parking garage at the San Diego Convention Center.  Two things have changed since then: 1) the Airport Authority was created in 2003 and, as part of that creation, authority for collection of any revenue on the Airport’s leasehold was transferred to the Airport Authority and 2) In 2016, many of the rental car facilities were consolidated from other tidelands onto the Airport. Those two changes are key to our concerns about the legality of the recent fee.

Our most pressing concern, however, is that failure to intervene in the lawsuit will strip us of our legal right to question any future Port-imposed fees on other airport transportation vendors (e.g. taxis, shuttles and ridesharing companies).  We believe an agreement can be reached with the Port on this issue.  To that end, we convened a discussion with the Port this afternoon and are working collaboratively to find a solution with a positive outcome for the entire region.  We look forward to continuing those discussions and arriving at a prompt agreement.

The Airport Authority stands by its commitment to continue being a strong regional partner. If you have questions, please call me. My number is 619-713-6888.

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