Congressman Bob Filner will return to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as one of its more senior members. In his position, Congressman Filner will work to highlight and address the transportation related needs of San Diego and Imperial Counties.
Congressman Filner believes the answer to our need for a new airport may lie to the east of San Diego County. A site in Imperial County, served by a high-speed rail line, is less than 20 minutes from downtown San Diego! The San Diego Regional Airport Authority has pared down a list of sites for the next San Diego regional airport--and left, in Congressman Filner's view, an Imperial County desert site as the only viable choice.
Recently, Bob has received funding to allow a full study of Imperial County locations for a future airport. The greater San Diego area is a growing world-class community and we need a world-class airport to meet our needs in the future. We need to have the courage to do what previous airport site selection groups have failed to do: think in terms of solutions for the next fifty years--not the failed solutions of yesteryear.
Keeping Passenger Flights at the Imperial Valley Airport After learning that the only airline that offers passenger air service at the Imperial Airport, SkyWest Airlines, Inc., had announced their intentions to leave the airport, Bob immediately contacted Norman Y. Mineta, Secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation to urge his assistance to ensure no drop in passenger air services in Imperial County. Bob worked with Secretary Mineta, United Airlines, and local city and county leaders to resolve the issue and maintain passenger services in the Valley. In June of 2005, the Department of Transportation prohibited SkyWest Airlines from terminating their services and requested their assistance in obtaining proposals from carriers interested in replacing them at the airport. After numerous discussions between city officials, the Department of Transportation and myself, SkyWest Airlines announced it would withdraw its notice to end passenger services and instead work to improve them.
As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Congressman Bob Filner has worked with his colleagues to revamp security at the nation's airports and aboard commercial aircrafts.
They passed, and the President signed, an airport safety bill that places responsibility for security at all airports in the hands of the federal government and requires that all airport baggage and passenger screening be performed by federal employees.
In the 108th Congress, Bob will worked to ensure that the Transportation Security Administration had, and will have the tools and the direction to implement these important security procedures.
HIGHWAYS AND TRANSIT
Bob believes that highway and transit construction not only improve safety and ease congestion, but are a true economic stimulus! This year, Congress has reauthorized the Transportation Equity Act Legacy for Users (TEA-LU), the bill that spells out the highways and transit funding priorities for the next five years. As a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Bob has fought for the highway and transit construction projects needed in San Diego and Imperial Counties.
Amtrak is an essential part of our nation's transportation system for many Americans and deserves to be maintained and expanded. Congressman Filner has consistently supported federal legislation to fund and improve Amtrak.
Bob is working closely with Congressional leaders to ensure Amtrak's future viability and financial stability. You can be assured that he will also continue to oppose cuts in Amtrak's budget and pursue innovative ways to protect this affordable means of transportation for all Americans.
If a new airport is built to the east of San Diego County at a site in Imperial County served by a high-speed rail line, it could be less than 20 minutes from downtown San Diego! The beauty of a high-speed rail line connecting downtown San Diego to rural Imperial County (with a few stops in between) is that, in addition to serving the airport, it could be the solution for our lack of affordable housing in San Diego. A high-speed rail line will improve our regional transportation system, re-defining how we live and work in San Diego and Imperial Counties.
Bob has championed the re-opening of the San Diego-Arizona Railroad for many years. Re-opening the "Jobs Train" will make San Diego a true maritime center and add thousands of high-paying jobs to our economy. The key to that working commercial port for us is direct freight railroad connections to the rest of our nation.
After many years of struggle, the Carrizo Gorge Railroad opened service on the line. This is an important first step. Congressman Filner has secured $10 million in federal funds to be spent on an "inter-modal center," where easy transitions can be made from ship to train.