Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) awarded San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (Airport Authority) with an Environmental Achievement Award in the area of outreach, education, and communication for the organization’s Airport Development Plan (ADP) outreach efforts.
The ADP envisions the replacement of Terminal 1 with a more modern facility and other improvements that enhance the airport experience for everyone. The Airport Authority’s ADP Draft Environmental Impact Report was originally released in July 2018 and then revised and recirculated in September 2019. For more than a year, the Airport Authority worked with regional stakeholders to refine the ADP. The Airport Authority Board certified the Final EIR on January 9, 2020.
Thorough community outreach and collaboration was key to the success in ultimately receiving Board approval for the ADP. More than 100 meetings were conducted with educational institutions, business groups, chambers of commerce, local and state elected officials, and local community groups. Additionally, the Airport Authority worked extensively with regional partner agencies to ensure that the airport could be seamlessly connected to the region’s transportation and transit infrastructure. These groups included the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, the City of San Diego, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the Port of San Diego, the U.S. Navy and others.
Through the various questions and concerns the community had raised, the Airport Authority revised the environmental study and further addressed the following topics: improving transit connectivity, reducing parking, making sure the plan aligns with the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan, preparing for sea-level rise and providing updated aviation activity forecasts.
“The ADP outreach plan took a proactive and intentional approach to bring the Draft Environmental Impact Report to the community to ensure stakeholders were heard, input and concerns were received and we responded appropriately,” said Kimberly Becker, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority President and CEO. “We appreciate ACI-NA’s recognition of SAN’s comprehensive and collaborative approach to community outreach.”
While the ADP was approved to move forward in January, the impacts of COVID-19 have given the Airport Authority pause to re-evaluate all capital improvement projects, including the ADP. To date, the Airport Authority has put more than $220 million of airport Capital Improvement Projects on hold and continues to proceed very cautiously with all aspects of the ADP. There is flexibility to slow down, speed up, or stop work completely if needed.