San Diego

Trolley-To-Airport Connection Project Could Cost Billions

Right now, city leaders have a plan but have no idea how much it will cost to complete it.

An elaborate plan to connect the San Diego Airport to the city’s trolley line is gaining momentum.

The Old Town trolley station is one of the closest stations to Lindbergh field, but there’s no fast way to get to it from the airport or vice versa.

And that’s where a nearby Navy-owned SPAWAR building comes into play. The building sits just down the tracks between Interstate 5 and Pacific Highway.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata proposed a plan Friday that involves turning the building into San Diego’s own Grand Central Station.

They want to connect this new transit station to the airport with a tram tunnel under the runway or around the tarmac.

“This region must be competitive to do it right,” Mayor Faulconer said. “That’s why this opportunity is now.”

But right now, city leaders have a plan without a price tag.

They don’t know how much it’ll cost exactly, or what the final plan will be, or when it will start and finish. They say they’ll know by this summer how they want to connect the two transportation hubs.

“I can tell your viewers that is not going to be cheap and it’s not going to be in the hundreds of millions, It’s going to be with a “B,” Ikhrata told NBC 7.

That’s a “B” as in billions of dollars.

Former San Diego Mayor and California governor Pete Wilson mentioned the same plan in his State of the City address four-and-a-half decades ago.

“Forty-four years later, Mayor Faulconer decided, ‘OK, let’s do it,’” Ikhrata said.

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