MTS Chair Georgette Gomez (left), Kevin Faulconer and Kim Becker. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Airport officials and city leaders announced Tuesday a “landmark” lease agreement with the airlines that will provide half a billion dollars for transportation improvements that could include a trolley connection.

The 10-year agreement provides $350 million for public transit improvements on and off San Diego International Airport property that could include a new transit station. An additional $165 million would be available for other transportation projects.

“We will create a transportation hub to finally connect the trolley to the airport. It’s long overdue,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer at the announcement in the San Diego County Airport Authority‘s board room. He termed the agreement a “landmark deal.”

Airport Authority President and CEO Kim Becker said specific improvements are still being planned by the airport, the Port of San Diego, Metropolitan Transit System, North County Transit District, Caltrans and SANDAG, but could also include a new connecting road at Laurel Street to remove traffic from Harbor Drive.

“The specific improvements are still being planned,” Becker said. “With this new agreement, we have a platform to move forward.”

Among the other ideas being discussed are new bicycle and walking paths in the area, transit corridors on Harbor Drive, and electric-powered shuttles.

Anthony Gregory, vice president of ground operations for Southwest Airlines, said the agreement will help the airport make “vital upgrades” to the facility’s transportation infrastructure.

“The agreement we’re announcing today will make it easier for our customers and employees,” he said.

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