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El Toro Airport: This Argument Won't Die

January 26, 2003

Re "What Cox Should Have Said on Airport, Schools," Jan. 19:

Alas, after just one blissful Sunday edition with no letters about El Toro, Larry Root uses Rep. Christopher Cox's piece (which was about the economy, not the airport) to bootstrap into a harangue about the economic need for an El Toro International Airport.

Root conveniently ignores the facts that Orange County already has a not-yet-paid-for, $250-million airport (John Wayne) and that it operates at 50% of its designed capacity, strangled by artificial limits on capacity and operation by Newport Beach.

Yet Root plaintively asserts we need more airport capacity. He cites O'Hare [Airport in Chicago], where the FAA "overrule[d] objections of nearby residents." Since the only commercial airport in Orange County is and will continue to be John Wayne, Root should heartily welcome the additional economic stimulus of expanded operations there. He should make his voice heard that artificial restriction of John Wayne Airport operations is simply bad economic policy.

Robert L. Stein

Laguna Niguel

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I totally agree with Root. I especially appreciate his comparison of O'Hare to El Toro. I grew up in the Chicago area, where I flew out of Midway Airport before O'Hare was constructed.

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved enlarging O'Hare's runways in recognition of the increased need for more space to accommodate more passengers and cargo flights. The FAA is aware that the benefits to the state and the region for greater revenue and convenience will outweigh the myopic complaints of nearby residents.

How similar that is to our situation in Orange County. In the 50 years that I have lived here, I have seen the phenomenal growth in population and therefore the matching need for flight facilities.

We also hear the same kind of short-sighted whining at the prospect of again using El Toro, the best location in the region to accommodate this great need. It is almost turn-key ready for an airport, as it was for many years before most of the South County residents even came here.

I hope Cox will use his recently acquired influence in Washington to represent all of his constituents and thereby improve economic conditions in our entire region and state. The ripple effect of thousands of jobs that the reinstated El Toro airport would provide could spread throughout California.

Eleanor Tucker

Newport Beach

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Proponents of an El Toro airport have lost their fight in the arena of public opinion and elections, and are now trying (for a second time) to have Sacramento force an airport down our throats.

Last year, Gov. Davis vetoed legislation to place all airport planning and control in the hands of a new regional planning agency. Davis correctly said that local voters should determine the need for a new airport, not a non-elected regional agency. But Newport and LAX-area activists continue to lobby for just such an agency in hopes of forcing construction of an unneeded and environmentally disastrous airport at El Toro.

Michael Smith

Mission Viejo

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