El Toro fight cost
The monetary cost of
the El Toro
airport fight has been estimated at “over $100 million”. With the
demise of the airport project,
out to update the estimate.
county reports it spent $55 million for airport
planning, promotion, Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) staff and
On top of the $55
million, the county expended over $19
million from the General Fund for El Toro
operations. $12 million of this was recovered in rent leaving a net
cost of $7
a huge price in years of divisiveness and
distraction from other important business.
The El Toro Reuse
Planning Authority, ETRPA raised $24
million of South
1995-2005 and spent it leading the attack on the airport.
estimates it invested $23 million counting the city's $5 million
contribution to ETRPA included in the figure immediately above. It is
difficult to draw a line
city’s inter-related anti-airport efforts, annexation studies, and
Park planning and promotion. Click for
an Airport Working Group summary of 2000-2002 Irvine contracts
related to El Toro.
The list was prepared by the Airport
Working Group based on a public records act request served on Irvine.
roots organizations raised about $6
million of private citizens’ contributions to Taxpayers for
Planning, Project 99, and to finance the Measures A, S, F and W
campaigns. The value of tens of thousands of volunteer hours has not
We have no data from Newport Beach
but guess the city spent roughly $15 million over the years on efforts
promoting the aviation use of El Toro
$3.7 million grant to the Airport Working Group.
Other supporter of
the airport - George Argyros’ Citizens
for Jobs and the Economy, the North County
cities in the Orange
County Regional Airport Authority OCRAA, and Airport Working Group
contributors gave about $5 million for the four initiatives and various
On top of local
public and private expenditures by the combatants, the
federal government spent heavily on El Toro
related activities. These included program management, environmental
airspace studies, base management, and litigation. Some of the Navy’s
were required under the Base Realignment and Closure Act regardless of
how El Toro was reused. However, the
protracted fight over El Toro
extended the Navy ownership and involvement for
five years after the air base was closed and added considerable
FAA was drawn heavily into the reuse debate.
It is a hard number
to pin down but we guess a
federal cost of over $25 million.
It all adds up
to between $150-200 million - plus an
enormous price in time and energy - spent on an airport project
county residents probably never really wanted.
updated November 11, 2005