Well, here we are. December 2009. The date promised for the arrival of the long-awaited passenger airline.

It’s time to justify the $130 million in taxpayer funds spent on the upgrade and construction of facility improvements to include a new passenger terminal.

I was stationed at the former Norton Air Force Base four more than four years in the 1980’s. I was saddened to see the base close and drain the area of its life blood. I would like nothing more to see air traffic once again fill the sky over SanBernardino . But let’s face the facts. The severe economic downturn enveloping the area and the country has delayed any potential arrival of a air carrier to the converted military base.

The assurances of San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris that a commercial airline’s imminent arrival to the fledgling facility appear to now ring hollow. I seriously doubt this result is any fault of the mayor.

It’s time for the redevelopment agency charged with the transformation of the former base and surrounding area into an economically viable environment to change direction and redirect its resources.

It’s time for the Inland Valley Redevelopment Agency (IVDA) to direct its dedicated tax stream into the vast area surrounding the airport. It’s now of paramount importance for the IVDA to begin the process of purchase and conversion of all of thedilapidated structures surrounding the airport. Structures which represent the last remnants of the former military base.

This objective must be carried out in order for the area to reach in future potential and appeal to investors willing to disregard the admittedly negative context associated with SanBernardino.

The shrinking passenger traffic at Ontario International Airport from elimination of routes by the airlines or transfer of flights to Los Angeles International demonstrate the tough challenges facing San Bernardino International.

It’s time for less airport focus and more community investment.