OK airport question | RecordCourier.com

OK airport question


I am urging you to vote in favor of County Question No. 1, the Airport Use Ordinance.

Please do not buy into the disinformation campaign launched against this needed piece of legislation by a handful of people whose modus operandi is to confuse the voters. They know that voter confusion will likely result in a “no” vote – that’s their objective. There is little merit in their various arguments and most are fictions created by them in furtherance of their agenda.

One fiction promoted is that everything will just be hunky-dory if we merely hang on to our present airport weight ordinance. No, it won’t. The result of non-passage will be about a million dollar a year loss of needed funding from the FAA, which has already suspended airport grant funding. Why? Because the present ordinance has been held to be discriminatory – there was never any weight study to support its limits. If this ballot measure doesn’t pass, guess who will be picking up that expense – you, the taxpayer or, alternatively, it will be at the expense of other county programs serving the public. The obvious solution is not to cut off our nose to spite our face by voting “no.” Instead, vote “yes” on this ballot measure to continue receiving federal financing which is indirectly your money anyway. With very few exceptions, all public airports in this country do just that.

Another fiction they promote is the specter of an explosion of jet traffic should this ordinance pass, yet this ordinance is, in essence, jet neutral – no different than what we are now experiencing under the present ordinance. Excluding fire fighting aircraft, heavy jet operations (weighing in excess of our current weight ordinance limit) has made up about .02 percent of the total airport traffic over the past eight years and the forecast for the next 20 years is that it will remain that way, regardless of the outcome of this ballot measure. That’s almost one per month out of about 6,600 operations per month. There is simply no market here to attract significant heavy jet traffic, nor will there be according to most knowledgeable sources.

A third fiction is that heavy aircraft (you know, one per month over the weight limit) account for most of the airport pavement wear and tear and such owners should pay for this, not the FAA or the citizens. The truth, according to the present airport consultant and acting airport manager, is that about 80 percent of such damage is caused by the thaw and freeze cycles experienced each winter season, not that one per month heavy aircraft – just like our roads.

Even the 2008-2009 County Grand Jury recommended that the current airport weight ordinance be rewritten and presented to the voters for approval. That, and the consequent loss of FAA grant funding, is exactly why this ballot measure – Question 1 – is being presented to you for approval. Keep in mind that the body of citizens making up this grand jury had no ax to grind and are not special interest co-conspirators – just ordinary citizens who studied this issue and made their recommendations.

John H. Garvin