Forgotten in the discussion over Great Park spending is the huge expected cost of the El Toro Airport that the park concept replaced. Until 2002, the county planned an international airport at the former base at a cost once estimated at billions of dollars. Building it could have led to Orange County’s second great bankruptcy because there never was enough air travel to pay back the debt.
The airport was promoted using unrealistic estimates of air travel demand. When confronted with the reality that there was no need for two O.C. airports seven miles apart and that JWA would close, proponents proposed connecting them with a much ridiculed “people mover.”
Plans took twists and turns. A “Global Town Center” concept was replaced by a “Green Airport” surrounded by a park. That morphed into an unlikely “community friendly” airport. The design of the airport kept changing but never the realities of its cost and the absence of need.
Eventually, voters killed the project but not before the county had spent $62 million. In the end, we were left with the cold comfort of not spending billions more on what opponents branded as an “unsafe, unneeded and unwanted” airport.
Great Park spending was audited but the great airport spending was quietly forgotten. How can the stewards of our public funds pursue such projects with such unwarranted zeal? In both cases, concerned voters finally had to step in and elect new stewards. Voters make a difference.
editor, El Toro Info Sitehttp://www.ocregister.com/letters/airpo ... anton.html
Can't wait for the rebuts from NPB crowd..