The Santa Monica Disease infects Santa Clara-can Rep.Clausen inspire an antidote?

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FAA Takes Moves To Keep Reid-Hillview Airport Open In East San Jose

Rep. Clausen, father of the NPIAS, national plan for integrated airports

Santa Clara County to follow Santa Monica steps to close RHV

SMO disease threatens National Network; need antidote


A visionary Congressman from California, way back in 1981, was instrumental in creating the critical provisions of the Airport and Airway Improvement Act of 1981 . In particular, his idea was to create a national airport system plan to provide for the development of public-use airports in the United States to provide a safe and efficient system of public-use airports to anticipate and meet the needs of civil aeronautics, to meet requirements in support of the national defense, and to meet the needs of the postal service.” Rep. Clausen was a representative of the people of Santa Rosa for 20 years, a WWII carrier pilot and a businessman.

For more than 40 years, the FAA has worked with airport sponsors, cities, counties, states, regional planning organizations, all stakeholders and users to create the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). Following the policy directives of the 1981 act, the plan provides all an open, comprehensive and detailed review of a NATIONAL system of airports.

The expected growth of and expected present/future role of each airport was documented in this widely distributed document. A theme that permeates this annual report an INTERCONNECTED SYSTEM of AIRPORTS. For example, it is abundantly clear that a major hub airport’s ability to handle the demand for air transportation in its REGION depends on a network of reliever airports.

This public plan must have been known to the Santa Clara County. It must have been clear over 40+ years to the county’s aviation division heads, its planning department and the elected officials that Reid-Hillview Airport (RHV) was an important NATIONAL ASSET because its existence is essential to the Norman Y. Mineta International Airport (SJC) to serve the SILICON VALLEY, which includes Santa Clara County.

So given that history, what does the Santa Clara County see as the future of RHV? Several articles have recited this plan:

Eight months after the Santa Clara County supervisors voted to consider closing Reid-Hillview Airport, San Jose lawmakers on Tuesday will review the land’s potential uses and the impact it would have on Mineta San Jose International Airport.

The East San Jose-based Reid-Hillview has been owned by the county since 1961. Though not a magnet for commercial air travel, the facility has served as a headquarters for flight training and other aviation programs. But county officials want to close it once its grant agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expires in 2031. According to the county, rising costs, declining revenues and growing maintenance problems only compound the need to shut the entire place down.

The Board of Supervisors’ December 2018 vote has taken the decades-old airport through an 11-step process to analyze potential closure—one of those steps being a review by the San Jose City Council.

On Tuesday, councilors will get briefed on their options in a report that details the aviation facility’s four main impacts on the city: future land use opportunities, congestion at Mineta San Jose, emergency management and lead levels.

At the May 21 Board of Supervisors meeting, county leaders voted to hire a land-use consultant to develop a site plan for Reid-Hillview. Over the next two years, San Jose officials will join the county in planning process to decide what’s next for the sprawling property if the airport closes for good.

“Should this property become available for redevelopment, it would represent a rare opportunity to better integrate the property and potential new amenities with surrounding neighborhoods,” San Jose Economic Development Director Kim Walesh wrote in a memo on the topic.

Also noted:

Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who proposed rejecting new FAA grants, said the agency’s stance is not surprising.

The FAA’s job with regional airports is to keep them open, and local government’s job is to look out for the health and welfare of the community,” Chavez said. “I think they’ve been clear they have a strong opinion about how to use these kinds of resources, and all we’re saying is, let’s take a look about how these resources can be better used in the community.

The FAA Director of Airports for the Western Region Mark McClardy (letter) and AOPA (editorial) have mounted a stern opposition.  Their arguments are thorough, strong and well-articulated and they have been made before.








The City of Santa Monica engaged in decades of aggressive litigation, Congressional lobbying and intentional deterioration of SMO. And eventually they won through a midnight, behind closed doors agreement with the Administrator.

The basic tactic employed at SMO, not taking AIP funds and waiting until the Grant Agreement expires, is being used for the slow death of HRV. Here are a few of the stories which document this

Santa Monica’s Next Iteration In Its Crusade To Close/Cripple Its Airport Is “Insane”

Santa Monica’s Lawsuit Fails To Recognize Freely Accepted Obligations To The Region And Nation

US To Santa Monica—“Keep SMO Open”

Santa Monica’s Mayor Lays On The Rhetoric About The Battle With The FAA Over The Airport

Let’s Put An End To The Repeated Historical Cycle—Santa Monica Tries To Close SMO, The US/FAA And Aviation Opposes—US Take It BACK!!!

End The Misery! The City Of Santa Monica Is Demonstrating That It Does Not Want To Meet Its Assurances.

Santa Monica Ballot May Eliminate The City From Owning And Operating The Airport Under FAA Grant Assurance

The City Of Santa Monica Does Not Want To Sponsor An Airport; The US Can And Should Take It Back

A Positive Option To Endless Litigation Over Santa Monica Airport?

California Pilots Association’s DART Exercise Shows That Santa Monica Has An Important, Irreplaceable Asset For The City

The Terms Of The Santa Monica “Compromise” Are Not Clear; Their Resolution May Impact Airport & The FAA Direction In The Trump Administration

The Sky Is Already Falling At Santa Monica

What’s Left Of Santa Monica Airport?

Unfortunately, the SMO disease has a terminal prognosis. A battle will be waged over RHV; lawyers and lobbyists will sharpen their pro- and anti- airport tools.

Rep. Clausen’s principle was that the National Airport System needs a plan on which aviation and communities can rely. The SMO disease, like Dutch Elm disease, threatens to destroy essential nodes on our national air transportation system one-by-one.

The anti airport movement is gathering strength; so, their goals may serve as a basis for compromise. While some want less aviation, some cities are demanding more AIP funds for their future growth. Perhaps the NPIAS map and criteria can be used as matrices to differentiate among the airports.

To limit the spread of SMO disease, might one or some of these legislative approaches work?

For sponsors seeking discretionary dollars to expedite their growth, their priority for those funds would increase if the major facility could present a regional airport capacity agreement. The RACA would insure that the reliever airports could not be closed for 40 (???) years.


For airports with NextGen noise opposition, the tradeoff between noise and air traffic efficiency (not safety) would be mediated in exchange the communities benefiting from relief would have to enact avigation easements prohibiting noise litigation by those owners and any subsequent purchasers for 40 (???) years.


For all airports participating in the NPIAS process, their acceptance of the airport future role and capacity established by the plan triggers additional AIP funds for local non-airport planning.


For NextGen air traffic routes, an amount equal to 1% of the net aviation benefits (lesser fuel burn, better ontime ) will be authorized for a Special PFC collection dedicated for use in the communities under the new NextGen tracks for enhancing of their communities. The airline lament, that the PFCs raise fares and deter passengers from  buying tickets, would be offset by the NextGen efficiencies.




There must be some win/win solution out there. Rep. Clausen is in his grave urging us to find it to preserve his National Plan of Integrated Airports System.







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