Friday, September 23, 2011

Weigh in on airport

In the wake of the Federal Aviation Administration's suspension of its review of the leading site for a new Sun Valley-area airport, it's imperative that business owners and permanent and part-time residents understand and weigh in on the critical decisions ahead.

These will determine whether the area has an all-weather airport adequate to accommodate modern commercial aircraft. Lack of such an airport will have negative economic and social consequences that would affect everyone.

That's why everyone who's able should attend the public meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 5:30 p.m. in the Continental Room of the Sun Valley Inn.

Local elected officials, aviation consultants and others will lead a public discussion and hear public comments on what the valley should do now that FAA Northwest Mountain Region Airports Division Manager Donna Taylor has ordered a "pause" in evaluation of a new airport site south of Timmerman Hill.

She called the timeout to force reflection on important developments. First, the estimated new airport cost of more than $300 million had come in drastically higher than expected. Second, sage grouse had become a big issue because the birds are on the verge of being listed as endangered, which would trigger protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Now what? The FAA wants to know what local people want to do. It's a critical time, a critical meeting.

Go. Listen. Learn. Weigh in. Don't wait for others—who may care less about you, your family, your business or your job—to do this for you.

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