County Vote Forecasts Airport Closure

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Image: Ian Kluft - CC BY-SA 4.0

Image: Ian Kluft - CC BY-SA 4.0

The path is now clear for the proposed closure of San Jose, California’s Reid-Hillview airport (RHV) after a 3-2 vote by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday against accepting further FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds. In addition to being a designated reliever airport for San Jose International Airport (SJC), RHV is also home to San Jose State University’s Aviation Department flight operations and numerous aviation businesses. Owing to grant obligations associated with previously accepted AIP funding, the airport must be kept open until 2031.

One option being proposed involves the “consolidation” of RHV operations to San Martin (E16), the other airport operated by the county. AOPA weighed in on the proposal before Tuesday’s vote in a letter (PDF) that strongly opposed the relocation of RHV operations and the closure of the airport. The organization called RHV “a viable and important community asset,” warning that “the loss of RHV would move a significant number of the 160,000 operations to SJC likely causing additional congestion and delays in airline operations at SJC.”

In a report relating to Santa Clara County’s Airport Business Plan Update, the county notes lead emissions as a reason to consider closing RHV, citing a 2008 study by the EPA that ranked the airport 25th out of 3,414 airport facilities across the country for the amount of lead emitted annually. It has also been suggested that the airport land could be used to address the county’s need for affordable housing. Other community concerns noted include aircraft noise and plane crashes.

Comments (12)

Well if AOPA's strongly worded letter couldn't save the airport then I guess nothing could.

Posted by: jvo fnr | December 5, 2018 6:18 PM    Report this comment

Lead emissions should not be considered a factor in air traffic relocations. Assuming the same amount of fuel will be burned somewhere, and that it is dispersed into the air, there will be no ultimate change in airborne lead. In fact, decreasing the lead around RHV will only increase the lead at the other airports.

Posted by: Unknown | December 5, 2018 7:39 PM    Report this comment

Another ignorant progressive decision to attempt to stop carbon/lead emissions.. Only to drive it somewhere else, and encure a net "0" carbon/lead reduction while creating a negative economic impact.. California, where every dumb idea has a chance to thrive..

Posted by: Tom O'Toole | December 5, 2018 9:28 PM    Report this comment

RHV is an extremely active GA airport. That is why the measured lead levels are high. It's busy because the only alternative in the "South Bay" is San Jose International. San Martin is much smaller and quite far away and is really not an alternative.

For many years the "lead" issue at RHV was pushed by a single individual. Most took him for a crank! But he persisted and eventually gained a following, then a sympathetic administrator at the county, then real estate developer money....

Now that the tactic has proven itself, we can expect to see it used at other localities whose runways will be bulldozed just as leaded avgas disappears.

Posted by: kim hunter | December 5, 2018 10:50 PM    Report this comment

News Flash:

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted on closing a 5 mile stretch of Highway 101 that runs through the middle of the county just west of Reid-Hillview airport. The board stated that the approximately 300,000 cars that use that highway every day are generating substantial carbon emissions and thus closing the highway will result in a cleaner environment. Further, Highway 101 is the scene of numerous car crashes and injuries which will be eliminated by its closure.

The board also indicated that the highway land area would be reclaimed for low income housing. The exact economic theory by which such new housing would be built and sold for less money than current market conditions was not detailed, however. A possible explanation is that the housing will be less expensive due to lacking viable transportation infrastructure nearby. A further theory is that the people losing their jobs related to Reid-Hillview airport will vacate the area leaving more housing open to others.

Further highway closures are being researched to help clean up the environment. Closing 85, 87, and I-680 is seen as a major step to reducing the carbon emissions in the county. Several studies have shown that areas lacking in transportation infrastructure have far fewer carbon emissions which validates the county's overall strategy. A total ban on highways and roadways is seen as a long term goal since that would substantially reduce carbon emissions county wide as well as greatly reducing housing prices.

Posted by: MIKE CIHOLAS | December 5, 2018 11:11 PM    Report this comment

News Flash:

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted on closing a 5 mile stretch of Highway 101 that runs through the middle of the county just west of Reid-Hillview airport. The board stated that the approximately 300,000 cars that use that highway every day are generating substantial carbon emissions and thus closing the highway will result in a cleaner environment. Further, Highway 101 is the scene of numerous car crashes and injuries which will be eliminated by its closure.

The board also indicated that the highway land area would be reclaimed for low income housing. The exact economic theory by which such new housing would be built and sold for less money than current market conditions was not detailed, however. A possible explanation is that the housing will be less expensive due to lacking viable transportation infrastructure nearby. A further theory is that the people formerly employed at Reid-Hillview airport will vacate the area leaving more housing open to others.

Further highway closures are being researched to further clean up the environment. Closing 85, 87, and I-680 is seen as a major step to reducing the carbon emissions in the county. Several studies have shown that areas lacking in transportation infrastructure have far fewer carbon emissions which validates the county's overall strategy. A total ban on highways and roadways is seen as a long term goal since that would substantially reduce carbon emissions county wide, as well as greatly reduced housing prices.

Posted by: MIKE CIHOLAS | December 5, 2018 11:12 PM    Report this comment

Come on folks; it is California, this is what is to be expected and what the voters in California seem to want election after election. Nothing will change until the politics change. If you are sick of being in the margins then do the wise thing and get out while you can.

Posted by: bruce postlethwait | December 6, 2018 2:12 PM    Report this comment

I totally agree with Mike Ciholas.

Posted by: Richard Katz | December 6, 2018 2:20 PM    Report this comment

No doubt closing a multi-million dollar airport facility, doing extensive demolition, and then erecting 'affordable housing' makes perfect economic sense....only if you are taking advantage of the legalized marijuana available. This ranks right up there with 'I'll sell you the Brooklyn Bridge'. It's difficult to argue against ideas that are this ridiculous because the other side of the table isn't thinking in a rational way.

Posted by: Steven Morton | December 6, 2018 2:44 PM    Report this comment

There were two supervisors who utilized common sense in the meeting. One of which is whose district they want to move operations to (San Martin). He said, if lead is an issue, why are you moving it elsewhere... One of the supervisors in an interview said the site is a "Gold Mine" and it would essentially be foolish to not mine there. As we all know, it's about $$$. I think it's foolish to remove a community asset like this. SJC won't take the aircraft, other airports are full, and San Martin is in no way a realistic location for those of us in the bay area. Watching the deliberations on the live stream were quite interesting.

Posted by: Michael Luvara | December 6, 2018 2:59 PM    Report this comment

And the county has >$880 million right now for affordable housing projects. But what developer in their right mind wants to take a the project that doesn't make as much money.

Posted by: Michael Luvara | December 6, 2018 3:02 PM    Report this comment

(Kim Hunter)

I remember my buddy talking to a local politician, asking what he can do to make his town better. The politician replied, "just show up. So many times we'll have an item on the table, we all know it's a crock, but somebody shows up and makes a stink about it, so we have to react. And that one person keeps showing up, because no one else does to oppose it."

Posted by: Kirk Wennerstrom | December 6, 2018 10:37 PM    Report this comment

Add your comments

Log In

You must be logged in to comment

Forgot password?

Register

Enter your information below to begin your FREE registration