Agency Promises To Fight Efforts To Close Airport
One newspaper report says it's a
line in the sand: A warning from the FAA to the city of Rialto, CA,
warning officials that any attempt to close the municipal airport
will be met with strong resistance.
"It's not up to the city to decide when an airport may be
closed," said FAA spokesman Don Walker. But city officials may have
a different opinion -- and they're playing their cards close to the
"It's really premature to say what we'll do,' Richard Scanlan,
Rialto's director of airport and solid waste management told the
San Bernardino Sun.
Even the FAA's threat to collect past grants if the airport is
shut down doesn't seem to phase city leaders.
"We're very aware that the city has received FAA funding,"
Scanlan told the Sun. "But the language provides for operations to
be shifted to another airport."
Rialto Municipal Airport has been the center of controversy for
some time now -- not only because developers want to pave it over,
but because of problems the FAA says range from poorly maintained
runways to the amount the airport charges to rentors.
City leaders are mulling over three options. They can leave the
airport the way it is. They can scale back airport operations. Or
they can move all airport operations to San Bernardino
Nope, says the FAA. Moving is not an option.
"To move it would entail closing the Rialto airport," Walker
told the Sun. "You may not close the airport without the FAA's
The FAA isn't the only entity closely watching
developments at Rialto Municipal. As ANN reported in January, the
AOPA is also all over the situation, publicly calling for a
full-blown investigation into the airport's financial
The FAA has spent more than $14 million on Rialto Municipal.
About $9.1 million of that was used to purchase land and Washington
says that means the airport can never be closed without FAA
authorization. If city leaders indeed try to shut down the airport,
Walker says the agency will take Rialto to court.