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Alternatives emerge in push for major San Diego transit center

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Posted at 5:08 PM, Dec 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-03 20:12:37-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — For all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding San Diego’s growing trolley system, there's still no connection to the airport.

SANDAG wants to rectify that glaring omission by building a major transit center with a direct tram to the terminals on Navy owned land near Old Town.

“As soon as I became aware of the opportunity and potential of redeveloping that site and doing it in partnership with the Navy, I have been a supporter of that plan,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, a SANDAG board member.

The Navy wants to see it happen too. After all, it would raise the value of its 70 acres, which it wants to redevelop into housing, commercial, and a new NAVWAR headquarters. The cyberspace, manned and unmanned aircraft operation is now in the crumbling World War II-era building that runs west of I-5.

“Obviously we have a mandate to recapitalize those aging buildings for NAVWAR not only so that NAVWAR can continue to accomplish its Navy mission, but so it can contribute to the economy and the job market in the San Diego area,” said Dennis Keck, executive director of Navy Region Southwest.

But earlier this week, SANDAG CEO Hasan Ikhrata told Voice of San Diego negotiations with the Navy are not going fast enough and that there are hang ups on land value.

On Friday, SANDAG unveiled two new alternatives for the mobility hub: at the Port of San Diego headquarters on Pacific Highway, and in downtown, the region's most dense area.

Ikhrata was not made available for an interview, but both the Navy and SANDAG board members reaffirmed their bond at Friday’s meeting and stressed the alternatives are necessary due diligence.