Thorp Interview on the Jetport

I was struck by the circular logic displayed by UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp in his Chapel Hill News interview. To me, (and I admit having researched the issue and made my mind up about it) the notion of taking land by eminent domain, tearing up the countryside and spending 40-50 million of my tax money is just not justified by a dodgy economic "working paper" and Thorp saying "It's better for us to have a regional airport".

CHN: If RDU was acceptable then and it's acceptable in the interim, what difference does it make whether you take 35 minutes to get to an airport or 25 minutes to get to an airport.

Thorp: Because we can develop our own operations.

Who's buying the airport?

Yesterday the Chapel Hill News reported without questioning a study* saying that the economic benefit of a new airport in Orange County could be four times the impact of the current Horace Williams Airport. Would a new airport be four times as big and have four times the traffic? Who would want that? And for that matter, who the hell would use it?

I understand the benefit of the current airport to the University, the hospital, and the state. But I just don't see how having an alternative to Raleigh-Durham benefits the average Orange County resident. Most of us don't have private planes, and when we need to fly, we use the commercial airport. The tax benefit to local government is negligible compared to other possible uses of the land.

I'm just not buying this.

* This figure ($53,000,000) was based on a consultant's study. But they don't say whose consultant.  UNC? Orange County?  I have been disappointed to see that County staffers have been speaking out in support of a new airport. I doubt they are on the same page as the County Commissioners.

Community unites against UNC Airport

I attended a meeting at the White Cross Community Center last night. The meeting was held and attended by close to 300 concerned Orange County residents who discussed UNC’s possible THEFT of homes and homesteads through eminent domain.

Why do I call it theft? Well, many interesting facts were presented such as cost (40 MILLION), economic and ecological impact to our communities and of course, kicking people out of their homes and off their farms so rich dudes can fly in for ball games and not be inconvenienced by having to drive an extra 5 minutes from RDU! I implore anyone who cares about the environment, local economy, justice or not letting your fellow citizens get SCREWED to help STOP this Jackassary NOW!

You can educate yourself on the facts by reading the following:

And has a great summary of events here:


Ron Royster

New Horace Williams Airport: A Third Way

[Long-time lurker, first time poster]

Two paths diverged in the woods and I took the third.

It occurrs to me that there might be another way to meet (or even exceed) AHEC's needs while also preserving land and avoiding a protracted debate and a souring of town-gown relations.

So far the paths being argued are:  1) Build a new airport in the county or 2) Base all operations from RDU.  I believe there is a third path that hasn't been considered.

In short, build a heliport.  Let that sink in for a minute and then read on for more...

We all know helicopters don't need much space to operate, so this is an easy one.  In fact, it could even be sited on the existing Horace Williams airport while still allowing for plenty of space for the new campus.

Drastic reduction in trip time for AHEC physicians.  Not only could AHEC potentially keep helicopter or tilt-rotor aircraft at UNC Hospitals, but it could deliver passengers directly to many of the hospitals they service throughout North Carolina instead of landing at their regional or local airports and then driving to their ultimate destination.

GA bills on University airport(s) - whose authority? whose power to take land?

At present two bills related to University airport(s) are proposed in the N.C. General Assembly. One is Apodaca's S1962, which has been discussed at some length on OP, designed to prevent the University from building hangars for AHEC planes at RDU and keep HWA open until another airport is built.

The other, about which I'd heard somewhat less, is H2725, sponsored by Yongue, Insko, Glazier (Primary); Bordsen and Faison -- short title: "UNC Operating/Capital Funds/Airport Auth" -- giving UNC board of governors the power to create and maintain state-level airport authorities.

It's a lengthy, typically intricate bill covering a wide range of requirements, needs, and eventualities (including the right to sue and be sued), as well as the construction of authority commissions (the likely membership of which we can certainly speculate about, given the recent history of lobbyist/advocate presence on committees and commissions related to HWA).



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