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Issue date: August 11, 2000

Under a draft plan proposed by Regional Airport Planning Committee, Moffett Field would cease to a secure federal airfield. Among the uses approved currently approved are takeoffs and landings of Air Force One.

@vcredit:Courtesy of NASA

City opposes plan to make Moffett a regional airfield City opposes plan to make Moffett a regional airfield (August 11, 2000)

By Jose Antonio Vargas

Despite clear opposition from the cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale, as well as from NASA, the Regional Airport Planning Committee (RASC) has included Moffett Federal Airfield in a draft report on updating the Regional Airport System Plan.

Representing the Mountain View City Council, Mayor Rosemary Stasek sent a letter on July 26 to the regional committee strongly opposing Moffett Field's inclusion in the draft plan.

"We have an honest difference of opinion of the place Moffett Airfield has for our region," Stasek said. "RASC's recommendation to study Moffett really goes against what NASA, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale have outlined as the role of this airfield."

Chris Brittle, planning manager for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to which the planning committee reports, said the committee is expected to review the draft for an updated plan at its Aug. 25 meeting. A decision on whether to adopt the updated plan as drafted should follow on Sept. 8.

"Moffett Airfield is a significant runway and it has importance to the region," Brittle said. "We're doing this study so if NASA or whoever operates the airport wants to entirely abandon the airport, there would have already been a thorough study of the opportunity and constraints of using Moffett for civil aviation."

In 1995, the city of San Jose passed a resolution stating that if the federal government decided to discontinue its operation of Moffett Airfield the airfield should become a civil airport for the long-term benefit of the Santa Clara County.

"The city of San Jose would not pursue an interest in Moffett as long as NASA required a secure federal airfield for its purposes," said Ralph Tonseth, director of aviation for San Jose. "However, Moffett Airfield is a significant aviation asset and is irreplaceable in Santa Clara County. It ought to be made available for civil aviation use in the event that NASA no longer required the airfield."

Tonseth added that San Jose does not want to see the airfield used as a golf course or a site for additional Mountain View housing.

Council member Mary Lou Zoglin, who sent a letter of comment to the Regional Airport Planning Committee last year, said, "We have to keep putting our position before them. It's important for them to know that our position on this matter has not changed."

Nadine Levin, Mountain View's assistant city manager, added: "Our city's policy has been that Moffett Airfield not be used for general or civil aviation purposes at any time. For the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to decide that Moffett should be studied in the future for other purposes is contrary to our city's current policy."

Julia Miller, a council member for the city of Sunnyvale, sent a letter of comment to the committee on July 24.

Michael Marlaire, chief of development and communication at NASA-Ames, said that NASA supports the position of both cities.


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