USA: San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System board has determined that a light rail extension to the city’s international airport is feasible and could be built in the next 10 years at an estimated cost of $1·5bn to $2bn.


A preliminary feasibility study undertaken by Mott MacDonald considered an elevated route or two underground options connecting to the existing Green and Blue lines near Hawthorn Street, around 2·6 km from the airport terminal. MTS has selected the underground options for further development, and will now seek federal and state grants for the project.

Possible extensions beyond the airport could include Point Loma, Liberty Station, Sports Arena and beach communities. It would also be possible to provide a direct service from the airport to the future Bayfront convention centre in Chula Vista with an estimated journey time of 14 min.

‘San Diegans have always wanted a Trolley connection to the airport and now is the time to move forward’, said MTS board Chair Nathan Fletcher. ‘The feasibility study findings demonstrate a Trolley to the airport is possible and while we have a ways to go in planning, stakeholder engagement and execution, there is a unique opportunity to further our reputation as a world-class region by offering the fastest rail connection in the United States between an airport and convention centre. Just like the recent Trolley extension to UC San Diego, the VA Medical Center and UTC, this would be yet another game-changer for San Diego.’