Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On airport location


According to an article and an opinion column in recent editions, north valley officials Charles Conn of Ketchum and Wayne Willich of Sun Valley have taken to beating the drum that Dick Fenton and Wally Huffman beat so long and loudly during the airport site selection process.

They argue (1) that the north valley should have a stronger vote regarding airport matters because the north valley contributes more property tax revenue than the rest of the county and (2) that the airport should remain where it is, either operating forever into the future under safety waivers from the FAA or expanding at its present site to bring it into compliance with FAA safety rules.

The property tax argument is not persuasive because neither the present airport nor a new airport will use property tax revenues to support its operation. Keeping Friedman Memorial operating in Hailey is not an option. The city of Hailey will not allow the airport to expand beyond its current perimeter and it cannot be brought into safety compliance without such expansion.

The FAA has stated quite clearly that continuing to operate under its present configuration is not an option.

The north valley business and political interests should stop trying to force continued operation of the airport on the city of Hailey. They must wake up to the fact that a new airport with a modern instrument approach system will provide all of us with safer air service with much more reliability in winter weather than could ever be achieved at Friedman Memorial.

Susan Cutter

Sun Valley




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