State and local officials gathered at Port San Antonio Tuesday to celebrate the extension of 36th Street through the former Kelly Air Force Base.
State Rep. Philip Cortez, D-San Antonio, said the road’s extension is critical to the growth of San Antonio’s aerospace industry.
“When I see this extension and I see everything’s that happening here at Port San Antonio I think of one thing," Cortez said, "and that’s jobs."
Cortez said the extension is expected to add as many as 8,000 new jobs and ultimately will extend two more miles to access Military Drive and I-35.
“Yeah, you can hit Military down to I-35, so it’ll be a huge connector," he said. "That’s the goal is to open up this area to more access, for more people and employers.”
San Antonio was quick to gain traction in the aerospace industry after the closure of Kelly Air Force Base, with Boeing and Lockheed-Martin moving in and helping with a smooth transition for hundreds of Kelly’s former workers.
Port San Antonio CEO Bruce Miller said the opening of this first extension of 36th Street has immediate benefits for the 14 aerospace companies at Port San Antonio that now employ 4,000 workers.
“It solves truck access problems immediately, and it opens up 400 acres of land for aerospace development, which is one of the driving industries in San Antonio," Miller said.
Miller said next year the city’s bond program, along with Port San Antonio funds and a Texas Department of Transportation grant, will extend construction another mile. Officials say less than half of Port San Antonio is developed today, but with full build out, aerospace and logistics companies could employ 35,000 people.