Tue, Jan 27, 2004
Leaders Oppose Developer's Plans
Here's a twist: Some politicians are fighting to save their
Two San Francisco-area congressional leaders Friday urged
federal aviation officials not to close Concord's Buchanan Field
(CA). Reps. George Miller, D-Martinez, and Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo,
sent a joint letter to the FAA opposing a proposal to replace the
airport with a mixed-use development.
"We believe that Buchanan Field is an important element of the
economic infrastructure of Central Contra Costa and our region,"
the letter states. It highlights Buchanan's roles as a hub during
emergencies and as a so-called "reliever airport," diverting air
traffic from larger, congested Bay Area airports.
In December, county supervisors decided to seek proposals for
alternate uses of the airport. The board needs FAA approval before
shutting the facility. However, that won't be easy, as the county
must keep the airport open for at least 19 more years under the
terms of a $1.9 million federal grant it received last year.
Nevertheless, area pilots fear the developer may have an edge in
D.C. area lobbying factor, as Susan Mineta, a company vice
president in Alameda and Santa Clara counties, is the niece of
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. While pilots fear the
Minetas could find a way to close the airport, many agree the
congressional letter represents an important political victory,
said Diane Cole, president of the Mount Diablo Pilots
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