The Navy’s SPAWAR facility at left and airport at upper right. Navy photo

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and SANDAG Director Hasan Ikhrata are championing an ambitious plan to connect San Diego International Airport to the region’s trolley and commuter rail lines to dramatically improve access.

The plan, called “San Diego Grand Central,” would turn part of the Navy’s 70-acre SPAWAR site into a transit center from which trolley, rail and bus riders could take a people mover — possible in a tunnel — to the airport.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our region’s transportation agencies to work together to create a bold vision for San Diego’s transportation network and, finally, connect the trolley to the airport,” said Faulconer.

The idea came out of a working group created last year, and was pitched to the SANDAG board on Friday.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer at Elon Musk’s Boring Company in Los Angeles on Jan. 8. Courtesy mayor’s office

Both the trolley and tracks used by Coaster and Amtrak trains pass the SPAWAR site, a giant World War II-era bomber plant. The Navy has express”Every modern airport, you get out of the terminal and there is the transit or a very modern transportation system waiting for you,” he added. “ed interest in redeveloping the aging property.

Faulconer and Ikhrata traveled to Los Angeles last week to discuss tunnel ideas with Elon Musk’s Boring Company, which is building tunnels under congested areas of Los Angeles.

Ikhrata acknowledged the project would be expensive, likely in the billions of dollars. But it would create an alternative to the growing congestion on Harbor Drive.

Funding could come in part from airlines, the TransNet sales tax and a possible ballot measure in 2020.

Ikhrata points out that almost every large, modern airport as a transit connection.

Show comments

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.