Reid-Hillview Airport Important as Disaster Recovey Hub – San Jose Mercury News

The San Jose Mercury News and the California Pilots Association’s are in agreement stating that Reid-Hillview Airport will become an extremely important “disaster recovery hub” for the community when the next disaster strikes. To read our letter to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors look below. To read the Mercury News Editorial click “Read More”. Editorial: Fate of Reid-Hill-View matters to all of us in earthquake country


Mercury News Editorial

Article Launched: 03/21/2008 01:32:31 AM PDT

A study of Reid-Hillview Airport is probably inevitable once a decade, given the annoyance of small planes buzzing around East San Jose and the exploding value of that prime acreage near Eastridge mall. This week, Santa Clara County ordered another look at the feasibility of closing the airport and developing the land.

For the county, it’s about the money. Besieged with budget deficits, it is struggling, understandably, to maintain its core health and human services. The complication with Reid is that closing it would mean repaying millions of dollars in grant money to the Federal Aviation Administration.

There’s also a broader issue: What becomes of general aviation? Where would the 600 planes that now use Reid go? Mineta San Jose International Airport doesn’t want them mingling with the big jets. Smaller county airports at Palo Alto and San Martin can’t handle them, and earlier studies failed to turn up an acceptable site for a replacement for Reid-Hillview.

Pilots argue the airport is a significant economic generator for the region, a calculation some dispute. What’s indisputable is the value of multiple air strips in the region in case of disaster. If major airports are damaged in the next big quake, smaller ones would be our lifeline for supplies and medical airlifts.

People never want airports nearby until they need one; this growing region should be wary of losing one it’s already got. But it can’t be just a county government question. Cities and other interests in the region between the Hayward and San Andreas faults should be weighing in.

Editor’s Note: Before the Mercury News dismisses the business value of Reid Hillview Airport it may want to do a little research of the following report on Watsonville’s Airport: “An economic impact study for Watsonville Airport was prepared by AMBAG (Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments). The report can be found at The study found that 18 million dollars and 329 jobs are tied directly to the Airport.

1030 jobs are related indirectly to Watsonville Airport and $627,343,000 in annual economic activity is an indirect result of the Airport. “This study shows that all the airports in the area have a positive economic impact on their respective communities” reports an AMBAG representative”.

To read the Editorial on the San Jose Mercury News’ web site click here.

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