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General Press Releases

Port of San Diego Disappointed with Airport Authority’s Decision to Join Lawsuit that Threatens Funding for South Bay Waterfront Project

SAN DIEGO, Calif.: On August 1, 2018, Port of San Diego Chairman Rafael Castellanos issued a statement summarizing the Port’s reaction to the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s decision to join in a lawsuit.

On July 24, 2018, the Airport Authority filed a court document indicating that it intends to join a lawsuit that was filed by Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the Hertz Corporation against the San Diego Unified Port District (“Port of San Diego”) on June 8, 2018.

The lawsuit is San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2018-00028276-CU-MC-CTL.

Statement from Port of San Diego Chairman Rafael Castellanos

“The Port of San Diego is disappointed to learn that the Airport has unexpectedly joined a lawsuit threatening a key element of overall funding for the Port and City of Chula Vista’s resort and convention center development. If the Airport lawsuit succeeds, it would result in uncertainty and could delay plans for a 1,600-space parking garage, integral to success of the new convention center and related 1,600 hotel rooms. This project is essential to growth in our regional economy and is a game-changing development for the South Bay.

“We hope the Airport reconsiders and reverses its ill-advised decision. This surprise action by the Airport Authority demonstrates a recent narrowing of its focus to just the Airport’s own operations, with little regard for regional needs. This interferes with a project that will create more than 20,000 permanent jobs with a regional economic impact of more than $2 billion annually.

“The lawsuit was initially filed by two rental car companies opposed to the Port collecting a small fee on cars rented on Port tidelands to pay for a new parking garage on the Chula Vista bayfront. This fee is a tried and true funding mechanism used by the Port to finance its public parking garage serving the San Diego Convention Center as well as Petco Park, nearby hotels, industrial employers and the Gaslamp Quarter.

“The Port of San Diego is the trustee for nearly 6,000 acres of California tidelands in our five waterfront cities. We must balance the needs of all people in our region using revenues from all reasonable sources to meet our public trust obligations.

“Too often in the past desirable projects have benefited the central and north bay but offered little in the way of new jobs and economic growth in the south bay. The Chula Vista Bayfront project represents the Port’s long-range commitment to provide opportunities for all of our waterfront communities, each of which deserves a chance to flourish. It also aligns with our mission to increase access and activation of our entire waterfront.

“There was broad regional support when the Port used rental car fees from 1999 to 2006 to finance a parking garage in the city of San Diego. But when we now work to expand the South Bay tourism economy, the Airport has initiated this short-sighted and hostile act that interferes with 20 years of hard work by the Port, the City of Chula Vista and leading environmental groups.

“The 535-acre Chula Vista Bayfront project will transform a largely vacant and underutilized industrial landscape into a thriving recreational, residential and resort destination on the Chula Vista waterfront. When complete, the public will enjoy more than 200 acres of parks and open space, a shoreline promenade, walking trails, RV camping, shopping, dining and more.”

About THE Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.

The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.