Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/19/2011 06:48:06 PM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – In a move intended to repay existing debts and move San Bernardino International Airport a step closer to operation, the Inland Valley Development Agency authorized a $165 million bond on Wednesday.

The unanimous vote, which takes advantage of low long-term bond rates, is “eminently important,” said San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris, who also is co-chairman of the IVDA.

“These resources allow us to create an international airport,” Morris said. “(Southern California Association of Governments) has identified this airport as critical for the Los Angeles Basin, and it’s identified as a major opportunity to move the millions who live here and will live here around the nation and around the world.”

The IVDA had long planned to issue a bond in 2012 to repay outstanding debts dating back to 1997, but the current bond market is probably better now than it will be in the near future, said Don Rogers, executive director of the agency.

Since Norton Air Force Base closed in 1994, more than $200 million has been spent on runway, terminal and road improvements in and around the airport in preparation for commercial flights, with about half of that coming in federal aid.

No further investments are anticipated, Morris said.

“We’re healthy with these resources to pay off our commitment,” he said.

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