$20-Million Plan for Airports OKd

Ventura County supervisors Tuesday approved a five-year capital improvement plan for the Oxnard and Camarillo airports that calls for nearly $20 million in renovations over the next five years.

More than $17 million of the improvements would be paid for with state and federal tax money, but the balance would need to come from local sources, said Rodney L. Murphy, county director of airports.

County officials are required to submit the five-year improvement plans to state and federal officials each year, Murphy said.

The renovations would include new taxiways, better streets and roads and security improvements at both airports. The plan also calls for acquiring land to increase safety along the runway at Oxnard Airport.

Several pilots opposed the five-year plan Tuesday, urging supervisors to reject the proposal for fear that improving the airports will increase air traffic, which will cause surrounding communities to complain.

The pilots also objected to a new job and compensation package given Murphy that is worth more than $11,000, arguing that Murphy supports expansion of the two airports despite concern by those pilots who use the facilities.

"These [opponents] are not dumb," Camarillo pilot Don Hollingsworth said. "They know it's all tax money--whether it comes from Washington, Sacramento or Ventura County."

Supervisors, however, approved the raise package and improvement plan unanimously with little discussion.

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